AstraZeneca vaccine trials on children paused for investigation

The trial of the AstraZeneca vaccine in children has been put on hold while regulators investigate a potential association between the jab and a rare form of blood clot.

Regulators at the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) are currently investigating the potential link while a University of Oxford spokesperson stressed there are “no safety concerns”.

A spokesperson from the university said in a statement: “Whilst there are no safety concerns in the paediatric clinical trial, we await additional information from the MHRA on its review of rare cases of thrombosis/thrombocytopaenia that have been reported in adults, before giving any further vaccinations in the trial.

“Parents and children should continue to attend all scheduled visits and can contact the trial sites if they have any questions.”

Several countries suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine following reports of people experiencing blood clots after their jab.

The agency has said it identified 30 cases of rare blood clot events out of 18.1 million doses of the jab administered up to and including March 24.

There have been seven deaths among the 30 cases.

However, Sage adviser Professor Calum Semple has urged people to continue accepting AstraZeneca jabs saying it’s better to get the vaccine than to not get the vaccine.

He told Channel 4 News: “This has been done out of exceptional caution and the big story still is that for a middle-aged, slightly overweight man, such as myself, my risk of death is one in 13,000 – the risk of this rare clot, which might not even be associated with the vaccine, is probably one in a million.

“So I’m still going to say it’s better to get the vaccine than not get the vaccine and we can pause and take time to carefully consider the value for children because they’re not at risk of death from Covid.

“If you’ve been called for the vaccine then you’re in an age group that is very likely to benefit from the vaccine. So the bottom line is if you’ve been called for the vaccine I would urge you to take the vaccine.”

Boris Johnson and ministers have sought to reassure Britons and foreign governments about the vaccine, insisting it is safe.

Stella Kyriakides, the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said the results of a European Medicines Agency’s review of the AstraZeneca vaccine were expected on Wednesday.

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