The UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on Thursday responded to measures taken by the Danish government in halting the rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine following the discovery of a blood clot in an individual.
Dr. Phil Bryan, the agency’s vaccines safety lead, said the action undertaken by Danish authorities was a precautionary measure, while it has not been confirmed with current evidence that the blood clot was a result of the Oxford vaccine.
“Blood clots can occur naturally and are not uncommon. More than 11 million doses of the COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine have now been administered across the UK,” Bryan said in a statement on Thursday.
“The safety of the public will always come first. We are keeping this issue under close review but available evidence does not confirm that the vaccine is the cause. People should still go and get their COVID-19 vaccine when asked to do so,” he added.
According to Bryan, the number of blood clots reported from Denmark is not greater than those that would have occurred naturally among those who have already been vaccinated, and so there should be no cause for concern among the wider public.
The MHRA made clear that the safety of the vaccine was of “paramount importance” and that the agency is continually monitoring its development to ensure that it achieves the best of results when targeting the virus and that the benefits outweigh the potential risks.
On Thursday, Denmark and Norway suspended the rollout and use of the Oxford vaccine after reports of a small number of blood clots. Austria had also stopped using the batch. Italy too banned the use of a batch of the same vaccine.
It is not yet confirmed whether the vaccine caused the blood clots and the EU medicines agency has said there is no indication as such.