A trial of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine on children has been paused while the UK’s medicines regulator investigates a possible link between the vaccine and rare blood clots in adults.
A number of countries have previously suspended their use of the Oxford vaccine over blood clot concerns, though the UK has continued vaccinations. The move in the UK only affects a vaccine trial on children – the vaccination of adults is continuing.
The trial that has been paused is looking into whether the vaccine produces a strong immune response in young people aged 6 to 17. The University of Oxford has said that no safety concerns have been identified with the trial itself and that trials participants should continue to attend all scheduled visits.
Earlier on Tuesday, the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh any risks. Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged people on Tuesday to get the vaccine when they are invited to do so.
The European Medicines Agency safety committee has recently been reviewing very rare cases of blood clots in people given the vaccine and is expected to announce its findings in the coming days.
The UK is currently using two vaccines against coronavirus, including one from Oxford/AstraZeneca and one from Pfizer/BioNTech. To date, more than 31.6 million people in the UK have received at least one vaccine dose.