British officials are urging people to continue taking the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, despite revealing that seven people in the U.K. have died from rare blood clots after getting the shot.
The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency, or MHRA, said it wasn’t clear if the shots are causing the clots, and that its “rigorous review into the U.K. reports of rare and specific types of blood clots is ongoing.”
Though the agency said late Friday that seven people had died as a result of developing blood clots, it didn’t disclose any information about their ages or health conditions.
In total, MHRA said it had identified 30 cases of rare blood clots out of 18.1 million AstraZeneca doses administered up to and including March 24.
The risk associated with this type of blood clot is “very small,” it added.
“The benefits of COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca in preventing COVID-19 infection and its complications continue to outweigh any risks and the public should continue to get their vaccine when invited to do so,” Dr. June Raine, the agency’s chief executive, said.
Concern over the AstraZeneca vaccine has already prompted some countries including Canada, France, Germany and the Netherlands to restrict its use to older people.
The U.K., which has rolled out COVID-19 vaccines faster than other European nations, is particularly reliant on the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was developed by scientists at the University of Oxford.
The European Medicines Agency has said a causal link between unusual blood clots in people who have had the vaccine is “not proven, but is possible,” and that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks of side effects.
The World Health Organization has also urged countries to continue using the vaccine.
“Receiving the vaccine is by far the safest choice in terms of minimizing individual risk of serious illness or death,” Adam Finn, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Bristol, said.
A more detailed look at the MHRA’s findings show that of the 30 cases, 22 related to cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, which stops blood draining from the brain properly, and eight were connected to other thrombosis events.
It said there were no reports of any blood clots with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which has also been widely rolled out in the U.K.
The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.
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