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AstraZeneca halt paediatric trial of COVID-19 vaccine amid blood clot probe

Published on 07/04/21 at 09:43am

AstraZeneca has halted the trial of its COVID-19 vaccine on children aged between 6 and 17, while regulators investigate a possible link with the vaccine to rare blood clot events in adults.

The University of Oxford have said that no safety concerns have arose from the trial itself, but that its scientists are waiting for further information from the MHRA before giving any more vaccinations.

Regulatory bodies from across the world are currently assessing data on the AstraZeneca jab and the potential associations with a rare blood clot form.

The EMA and WHO have both confirmed that they will be publishing their findings this week.

AstraZeneca’s trial began back in February and was aiming to assess whether the jab produces a strong immune response in those aged between 6 and 17. Around 300 volunteers had signed up to take part in the trial.

Professor Andrew Pollard, from the University of Oxford, said: “Whilst there are no safety concerns in the paediatric clinical trial, we await additional information from the MHRA on its review of rare cases of thrombosis/thrombocytopaenia that have been reported in adults, before giving any further vaccinations in the trial.

“Parents and children should continue to attend all scheduled visits and can contact the trial sites if they have any questions.”

Currently, more than 31.6 million people in the UK have had their first vaccine dose and a total of 5.4 million people have received a second dose.

Two vaccines – developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNtech – are being used throughout the UK, while a third – from Moderna – has been approved and today began distribution in Wales.

Whilst visiting the AstraZeneca manufacturing plant in Macclesfield, Boris Johnson stated that getting the population vaccinated was “the key thing”.

He said: “On the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, the best thing people should do is look at what the MHRA say, our independent regulator – that’s why we have them, that’s why they are independent. Their advice to people is to keep going out there, get your jab, get your second jab.

“The best thing of all is to vaccinate our population, get everybody out getting the jab, that’s the key thing and that’s what I would advocate, number one.”

Kat Jenkins

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