Commenting on the findings from the UK medicines regulator and the European Medicines Agency, the BMA chair of council, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, said: “We acknowledge the fact that the risk of blood clots remains an extremely rare event and the benefits of being vaccinated with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19 still outweigh the risks for the majority of the population. We are grateful that our patients can be offered the vaccine that is most appropriate to their age group.
“Covid-19 is a deadly virus and with more than 126 thousand deaths in the UK, the importance of having the vaccine must not be underestimated. Over 30 million people have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine since the start of the programme, which Public Health England (PHE) estimates has prevented at least 6,000 deaths in the first three months.
“It is absolutely right that the JCVI is being honest about the change of direction in advising those who are under 30 to be vaccinated with either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine - we are fortunate that there are alternative vaccinations that can be offered to those under thirty.
“England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer said that giving those under 30 – who are at less risk - an alternative vaccine may mean these patients have to travel further to be given it, or wait a little longer to be vaccinated; it’s important that NHS England does everything it can to make this process as easy as possible so that patients will get their first and second doses so that the public can continue to have confidence in the programme. We must remember that the vaccines are a very important part of making sure we make a safe and successful return to a more normal way of life.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.