The UK government’s vaccination advisory body, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority, recommended that healthy adults under 30 should be offered an alternative vaccine to AstraZeneca if available and they are not at high risk of Covid, amid concerns over reports of rare blood clots among the immunised after vaccination.
In the UK, up to 31 March there were 79 reports of these rare blood clots with low platelets. Nineteen people died, although it is not known whether the blood clots were the cause in all the deaths. Three of the people were under the age of 30. About 20m AstraZeneca doses were administered in the UK, according to data up to 21 March.
Some under 30s have already had a coronavirus vaccine, many because of their jobs in health and social care, or due to underlying health conditions.
Two vaccine recipients share their response to alternatives to the AstraZeneca jab.
‘There are just so few cases of blood clots’
“I had the AstraZeneca vaccine in early February, and today’s news hasn’t changed my view of the jab. There are just so few cases of blood clots. I don’t think it would be reasonable to prevent so many millions from getting a vital vaccine when there’s no evidence that it is the cause, and the percentage of people affected by blood clots is so few compared to the numbers vaccinated.
“I think it’s too early to stop the rollout until more research is done on whether the vaccine is causally linked to the clots. Personally, I feel happy to have my second dose which is due on 26 April.
“I am concerned that the news will affect confidence in the vaccine. You can see straightaway that people are saying it goes to show they should never have taken it.
“When the vaccine was first rolled out a lot of people I know were hesitant, but because it was going so well they put their worries to one side. The news today will change things and put doubts in people’s heads.
Jasmine Morgan, 26, local government worker and vaccination centre volunteer, Essex
‘Every headache I get I think is this the blood clot?’
“I felt pure regret when I saw the news, and wished I’d either waited until there was more known about the vaccine or gone for the Pfizer vaccine instead.
“I’m bank staff for a care home while I’m at university, and then when I’m home I work there as a healthcare assistant. My manager contacted me and said I needed to have it, and to be honest, I felt quite pressured to get it. I don’t want to be putting residents at risk, and I also thought if people at work asked if I’d had it and I said no it’d be frowned upon.
“Now, I just feel extremely worried. Every headache I get I think is this the blood clot? It’s terrifying. I had Covid in October, and I was fine. I’d go through that again and again if it meant I wasn’t worrying about what this vaccine would do to me.
“I can’t take it out of me, but I can guarantee I won’t be getting my second dose.
Yasmine Cotton, 19, health care assistant, otherwise at university, Cumbria