Evidence suggests there is no increased risk of blood clots from the AztraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, England’s deputy chief medical officer has said.
Jonathan Van Tam responded to a string of European countries including Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Norway and Ireland pausing the use of the jab in recent days, over reports of isolated cases of blood clotting.
He quoted the European Medicines Agency (EMA) spokesman, who said there was “no indication that vaccination has caused these conditions. We are still firmly convinced that the benefits of the AZ vaccine in preventing Covid-19 outweigh the risks of side-effects.”
“Behind the scenes there is a lot of work going on” to establish there was a “signal” of increased risk of blood clots.
“There’s a lot of evidence emerging now that is reassuring that there is no overall excess signal or increased risk,” he said.
And he added that there was “lots of evidence that the vaccine is saving lives”.
He added: “That’s the really important thing, that we push on with this. I think from the enthusiasm of the patients I’ve vaccinated, I see the enthusiasm of the British people to push on with this, because vaccines don’t save lives if they’re in fridges. They only save lives if they’re in arms.”
Pulling out a leaflet showing the side-effects of paracetamol, he said: “All medicines have side-effects, and all medicines have benefits.
“That’s the point, that you have to look at both sides and see how big are the benefits in relation to the risks.”
He read out a number of the rare side-effects of paracetamol, including skin rashes, mouth sores, fever, difficulty breathing, being more prone to bleeding, bruising and infections, nausea, sudden weight loss, loss of appetite and jaundice.
“But we all understand the benefits of them, and this is no different a situation. There is no proven association to the blood clots and we have very clear evidence that the vaccines are beneficial and save lives from what is otherwise, for some people, the ones we are targeting, a potentially lethal disease.”