Younger adults appear to be more affected by the rare blood clotting disorder linked to the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, the UK’s medicines regulator has said.
In rare instances, people have experienced blood clots with low blood platelets after having the jab, which led the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to recommend that under-30s be offered an alternative, such as those by Pfizer or Moderna, at the start of April.
Since then, new data from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has showed there were 209 cases in the UK of the rare combination of blood clots with low platelet counts after vaccination with the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab up to April 21 – with 41 deaths. This rose from 168 cases and 32 deaths in the previous week.
Chief executive Dr June Raine said that no medicine or vaccine was without risk, but added the blood clots were still “extremely rare”.
The data showed 23 blood clot cases in people aged 18-29 years old, 27 cases among those in their 30s, 30 in people in their 40s, 59 in people in their 50s and 57 in those aged 60 and above, with the age not known in the remaining cases.
Around a quarter of the rare blood clots were in people aged under 40, and two-thirds in those under 60, the data shows.
This contrasts to the proportion of people who have been vaccinated, with the latest NHS England data showing that 5.5 million people under 45 had received a first dose by April 25 compared to 22.6 million of those aged 45 and over.
The MHRA said the data suggested there is a higher incidence reported in the younger adult age groups and advised that this evidence should be taken into account when considering the use of the vaccine.
Dr Raine said: “The benefits of the vaccine continue to outweigh the risks for most people. It is still vitally important that people come forward for their vaccination when invited to do so.
“We ask anyone who suspects they have experienced a side effect linked with their Covid-19 vaccine to report it to the Coronavirus Yellow Card website.”
The estimated number of first doses of Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca administered in the UK by April 21 was 22 million giving an overall blood clot incidence of 9.3 per million doses, according to the MHRA.
The data also showed that 120 cases were recorded in women and 89 men aged from 18 to 93 years, and the overall case fatality rate was 19%.
Patients should seek urgent medical assistance if they have the following symptoms after the AstraZeneca vaccine: shortness of breath, chest pain, swelling in your leg, persistent abdominal pain, neurological symptoms including severe and persistent headaches or blurred vision, and tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the site of injection.