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Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine: Britain and Australia unite in defence of Covid jab

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After a number of EU countries temporarily suspended using the AZ jab on a precautionary basis, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab flatly rejected suggestions that evidence showed it may be linked to blood clots.

He told BBC Breakfast: “It is safe. People should get the vaccine.

“What I can tell you crystal clear – the UK regulator, the European/EU regulator and the WHO (World Health Organisation) all say that the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe and people should continue to take it.

“What is clear, and we have gone through this very carefully during the trials but also now given our experience of the roll-out – there is no additional risk from taking the vaccine and people should continue to take the vaccine. It is a life-saving step to take.”

Australia also firmly backed the Oxford/AZ vaccine today.

“The government clearly, unequivocally, absolutely supports the AstraZeneca rollout, clearly, unequivocally, absolutely,” the country’s health minister Greg Hunt told the Australian Parliament in Canberra.

“And the reason why is very simple – it will help save lives and protect lives, and it’s done so on the basis of the medical advice.”

Australia has vaccinated about 200,000 people so far and plans to import and manufacture 70 million vaccine doses from AstraZeneca.

Australia’s chief medical officer, Paul Kelly, said there was no evidence so far that the vaccine causes blood clots.

“Blood clots happen, they happen in Australia fairly commonly,” he said. “But, from my perspective, I do not see that there is any specific link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots, and I’m not alone in that opinion.”

Many countries in Asia were also continuing to use the jabs despite some nations in the EU temporarily stopping doing so amid concerns that it could be linked to blood clots.

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