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Should people be worried about the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine?

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A number of countries in Europe and across the world have suspended use of the Oxford AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.

It comes amid reports of a small number of people developing blood clots after having the jab.

Here we take a look at the key questions surrounding the situation.

There have been a small number of reports of people experiencing blood clots in the days and weeks after their vaccination.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) reported one person in Austria was diagnosed with blood clots and died 10 days after vaccination, but it stressed there is “currently no indication that vaccination has caused these conditions”.

Last week the World Health Organisation (WHO), (EMA) and the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said there was no evidence of a link between the vaccine and an increased risk of blood clots.

– Which countries have suspended rollout?

On Monday Italy, France and Germany said they would be suspending distribution of the jab, joining the Republic of Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Bulgaria, Iceland and Thailand.

French president Emmanuel Macron said the country was making the move as a precaution.

– What do the regulators say?

The EMA  has again insisted the benefits of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine outweigh the potential side effects.

It said events involving blood clots, some with unusual features such as low numbers of platelets, have occurred in a very small number of people who received the vaccine, but that thousands of people develop blood clots annually in the European Union for different reasons.

The MHRA issued a statement last week saying more than 11 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine had been administered across the UK with no issues.

Last week the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH) recommended that all eligible adults continue to receive their Covid-19 vaccinations.

The EMA’s safety committee (PRAC) will further review the information on Tuesday and has called an extraordinary meeting on Thursday to conclude on the information gathered and any further action that may need to be taken.

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