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Covid: More than enough vaccines for under-30s, says Hancock Covid: More than enough vaccines for under-30s, says Hancock
(about 1 hour later)
The UK has more than enough supply of the Pfizer and Moderna jabs to vaccinate all adults under 30, the health secretary has said.The UK has more than enough supply of the Pfizer and Moderna jabs to vaccinate all adults under 30, the health secretary has said.
The UK drugs regulator says people aged 18 to 29 should be offered an alternative vaccine due to evidence linking AstraZeneca jabs to blood clots. The UK drugs regulator says people aged 18 to 29 should be offered a different vaccine due to evidence linking AstraZeneca jabs to blood clots.
Matt Hancock said the UK is on track to vaccinate all adults by 31 July.Matt Hancock said the UK is on track to vaccinate all adults by 31 July.
He said 8.5 million adults under-30s had not yet been vaccinated. He said the AstraZeneca jab remained safe and urged those who had received one dose to take up their second.
Mr Hancock said the AstraZeneca jab remained safe but if adults under 30 wanted "to have Pfizer or Moderna that's fine". The UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said there was no proof the vaccine had caused the clots but the link was getting firmer, while the European Medicines Agency (EMA) have said the benefits of the jab outweighed the risks.
There is "more than enough of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine" for the 8.5 million people under 30 who are yet to be vaccinated in the UK to have two doses, he said. Mr Hancock said there was "no evidence" of rare blood clots after the second dose of the vaccine.
Matt Hancock says there are "more than enough" alternatives to the AstraZeneca vaccine for the under-30s
Those who have had their first dose of the AstraZeneca jab should take up the offer of a second dose as there was "no evidence" of rare blood clots after two shots, he added.
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The UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said there was no proof the vaccine had caused the clots but the link was getting firmer, while the European Medicines Agency (EMA) have said the benefits of the jab outweighed the risks. There is "more than enough of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine" for the 8.5 million adults under 30 who are yet to be vaccinated in the UK to have two doses, he said.
By the end of March 79 people suffered rare blood clots after vaccination, with 19 of those dying. The UK has ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 17 million of the Moderna jab and also has agreements with several other companies for jabs that are still waiting for approval, including 100 million doses from Valneva and 30 million from Janssen.
Mr Hancock said people could have confidence in the safety system with regulators "able to spot this extremely rare event", adding "all drugs have side effects". Matt Hancock says there are "more than enough" alternatives to the AstraZeneca vaccine for the under-30s
Mr Hancock sought to reassure the public and said people can have confidence in the safety system because regulators were "able to spot this extremely rare event".
"The safety system that we have around this vaccine is so sensitive that it can pick up events that are four in a million (the chance of developing a rare brain blood clot) - I'm told this is about the equivalent risk of taking a long-haul flight," he told BBC Breakfast.
He said Covid was a "horrible disease" and long Covid affected people in their 20s "just a much" as any other age group, sometimes with "debilitating side effects that essentially ruin your life".He said Covid was a "horrible disease" and long Covid affected people in their 20s "just a much" as any other age group, sometimes with "debilitating side effects that essentially ruin your life".
"It is not just the benefit to all of us as individuals it's the benefit to the whole society from all of us getting the jab," he added. As of Tuesday more than 31.7 million people have received a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine in the UK, with some 5.6 million having received a second shot.
As of Tuesday more than 31.7 million people have received a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine in the UK. The recommendation to offer alternative vaccines to younger people came after a review by the MHRA found that by the end of March 79 people had suffered rare blood clots after vaccination - 19 of whom had died.
Prof Anthony Harnden, deputy chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said that both the regulators had said the AstraZeneca jab could continue to be used in all age groups.Prof Anthony Harnden, deputy chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said that both the regulators had said the AstraZeneca jab could continue to be used in all age groups.
But he said the committee, which advises the government on the vaccine rollout, had decided it felt more comfortable if the under-30 age group - which is at lower risk from Covid - was offered an alternative option.But he said the committee, which advises the government on the vaccine rollout, had decided it felt more comfortable if the under-30 age group - which is at lower risk from Covid - was offered an alternative option.
Prof Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme now was "not the time to waiver" and said people had to put their confidence in the system.
Prof Beverley Hunt, an expert in thrombosis and haemostasis at King's College London who has been working with the MHRA on the clot cases, said we do not know if the AstraZeneca vaccine causes the blood clots.
People had been presenting to doctors with "the worst headache they've ever had" four days after vaccination or sometimes later, she said, and said early treatment could improve outcomes for people.
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