Blackpool doctors urge patients to get Covid vaccine amid AstraZeneca blood clot fears
Resort doctors have advised people to get their Covid vaccine, despite a growing list of countries temporarily suspending use of the AstraZeneca jab amid concern around blood clots.
Ireland announced on Sunday it was suspending use of the AstraZeneca jabs as a “precautionary step”, but the UK's medicine's regulator said people should still go and get their Covid jabs when asked to do so.
Dr Phil Bryan, vaccines safety lead for the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said: "We are closely reviewing reports but given the large number of doses administered, and the frequency at which blood clots can occur naturally, the evidence available does not suggest the vaccine is the cause."
The vaccine’s manufacturer has also insisted it is safe, and said a review of available data in more than 17 million people who have been vaccinated across the UK and EU has shown no evidence of an increased risk.
Ireland's decision followed reports of "serious clotting" in adults in Norway which left four people in hospital.
The Netherlands also said on Sunday it would suspend use of the vaccinations as a precaution for two weeks.
Several other European countries have already temporarily suspended use of the jabs.
But Blackpool Council's director of public health, Dr Arif Rajpura, urged Fylde coast residents to continue getting their jabs when invited to do so, saying data does not suggest blood clots are more common in vaccine recipients.
"The Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) are keeping a close eye on vaccine safety and have looked at the data on the 11 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine that have been given," Dr Rajpura said.
"From the data there is no suggestion that blood clots are more common in those that have had the vaccine than in the general population.
"Some countries have taken a precautionary approach with suspending their AstraZeneca programmes.
"I recommend that people continue to go and have their Covid vaccine when they are invited."
Dr Rebecca Clark, GP at Layton Medical Centre and principal investigator for the resort's recently-passed Novavax vaccine trial, also advised people to get their Covid vaccine.
"It’s really important to stress that there is no causal link established with blood clots and the AstraZeneca vaccine," Dr Clark said.
"We expect a certain amount of people to develop blood clots on any given day, just as so many people have heart attacks or have car crashes that are completely unrelated.
"You could similarly argue that 10 people fell and broke their hips after having their vaccine - does that mean the two are linked? No, of course not!
"In other words, they were always going to get a blood clot, they just happened to get it the same week as their vaccine.
"As yet, there is no causal link between blood clots and the vaccine.
"The links that have been well established, however, are the risk of dying or becoming seriously ill from Covid being hugely reduced after having your vaccine.
"In summary, have your vaccine."