Watchdog verdicts banish any vaccine doubts

People in Oxfordshire should come forward for their COVID-19 vaccinations with the same confidence as the millions of people across the UK and other parts of the world who have already received a jab, says Oxfordshire’s Director of Public Health.

A number of European countries have paused use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine after reports that a small number of people who had received the jab developed blood clots.

However, the UK's medicines watchdog, the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), has said that evidence ‘does not suggest’ the jab causes clots. Meanwhile EU medicine regulator EMA has announced today that the vaccine is ‘safe and effective’ and there is no indication of any link between the vaccine and reports of blood clots.

Ansaf Azhar, Oxfordshire County Council’s Director for Public Health, said: “If recent events elsewhere in the world had caused anybody to have small doubts about the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, the verdicts of these expert agencies should now banish those thoughts.

“Vaccination remains the best way to prevent serious illness and death from COVID-19 and offers the best hope for coming out of the pandemic. The message in Oxfordshire and around the UK remains ‘if you get the invite, get the jab’.

“All the vaccines approved for use in the UK have met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the MHRA. Any vaccine that is approved must go through all the clinical trials and safety checks all other licensed medicines go through. The MHRA follows international standards of safety.

“Other vaccines are being developed. They will only be available on the NHS once they have been thoroughly tested to make sure they are safe and effective.

“So far, millions of people have been given a COVID-19 vaccine and reports of serious side effects, such as allergic reactions, have been very rare. Vaccines are safe and they make everyone safer. Please come forward to get your vaccine when you are invited.”