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AstraZeneca press conference: UK to hold urgent TV briefing TODAY with blood clot update

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The briefing will be led by Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, Dr June Raine, Chief Executive of the MHRA, Sir Munir Pirmohamed, Chair of the Committee of Human Medicines, and Professor Wei Shen, chair of the JCVI.

The announcement comes after Marco Cavaleri, the head of the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) head of vaccine strategy, said it was “increasingly difficult” to say there is “no cause and effect relationship” between the Oxford jab and “rare cases of unusual blood clots”.

He said: “We are a regulatory agency and we must have very precise data on the risk-benefit ratio.

“We are trying to get the precise picture of what is happening, to define in detail this syndrome due to the vaccine.”

Out of the 18.1 million people who have had the Oxford vaccine in the UK, 30 people have developed blood clots.

Professor Adam Finn, from the University of Bristol and a member of the JCVI, said it was vital to keep the vaccine programme going as society opens up, in order to help stave off rising infection rates.

Some European countries have restricted the vaccine use in younger people following reports of low platelet counts and cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), a specific type of clot that prevents blood from draining from the brain.

Asked if different vaccines could end up being used for certain groups as more vaccine types come on stream, Prof Finn told BBC Breakfast: “That’s certainly possible.

“We are seeing another vaccine coming in (Moderna), and further vaccines are approaching licensure, and I know that the UK has made contracts for quite a wide range of different vaccines.

“As time goes forward, we will have much more flexibility about who can be offered what.

“On the other hand, we do need to keep the programme going if the plan to open things up and allow things to get back to normal is to proceed without another wave of the pandemic coming through.

“So it’s quite a tricky balancing act here, getting the balance right, getting vaccines coming through… getting the risk-benefit right for people coming forward.”

He urged people being offered the vaccine at the moment to take it, saying the “risk-benefit is very strongly in favour of receiving the vaccine”.



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