Under-40s Could Be Asked to Take an Alternative Covid Vaccine to AstraZeneca

Less than a week after the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said people below the age of 30 should be offered alternatives to the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine because of its possible link to blood clots, members of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) have said that the same rule could apply for those aged 30-39. The Telegraph has the story.

Thirtysomethings could be asked to take an alternative jab to AstraZeneca, members of the JCVI have said. 

The Government’s independent scientific advisers said a fresh risk/benefit assessment of the vaccine in different age brackets would be made before the rollout reaches those under the age of 40.

Professor Anthony Harnden, the Deputy Chairman of the JCVI, said safety data will be examined “in scrupulous detail” and that “everybody should remain confident” in the vaccine programme, which he said was going “full steam ahead”.

He said any link with blood clots was a “very, very rare, extremely rare safety signal”, adding that the latest change in the medical advice – that those under 30 should be offered Pfizer or Moderna in preference to AstraZeneca – is unlikely to change.

But Professor Harnden said scientists would be looking closely at the safety data for those in other groups, and should have “much more clear” data by the time the programme moves to thirtysomethings.

He made his comments as Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, stressed that the benefits “spectacularly outweigh the risks” for those in their 40s. …

[Another JCVI member] Professor [Jeremy] Brown told the Telegraph: “We’re going to start vaccinating phase two healthy adults, starting with the 40 to 50-year-olds, and then we’ll go to the 30 to 40-year-olds.

“When we are approaching that point we’ll need to think about this a little bit more to be absolutely sure at what point in that age cut-off – given the situation we are facing at that time, and any more data that comes through on this rare complication, because more data will come through – then that might alter the age range.”

He said the risk-benefit analysis would be likely to tilt in favour of continuing to give the AstraZeneca Jab to thirtysomethings if infection rates are high, as the chance of severe disease in this age group are about five times higher than among people in their 20s. If the virus rates were under control, the balance could tip in favour of an alternative, he suggested. 

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: The Telegraph has produced this table on the potential benefits of taking the AstraZeneca vaccine compared with the potential risks for different age groups.

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