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COVID-19: UK trial of Oxford vaccine on children paused as regulator probes rare blood clots in adults

The UK regulator is currently investigating a potential link between the vaccine and rare blood clots in adults.

A trial of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID vaccine on children in the UK has been paused while the medicines regulator investigates a possible link between the jab and rare blood clots in adults.

A University of Oxford spokesperson stressed that there were “no safety concerns” with this specific study, but that further information was being awaited from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

“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,” the statement said.

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

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “No decisions have been made on whether children should be offered vaccinations.

“We will be guided by the advice of our experts on these issues including the independent MHRA and Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation.”

Over the weekend it was reported that there had been 30 blood clotting cases recorded by the MHRA out of more than 18 million doses of the AstraZeneca shot administered.

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The MHRA confirmed that of those 30 people, seven had died as of 24 March.

The European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) head of vaccine strategy has said it is “increasingly difficult” to say there is “no cause and effect relationship” between the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab and “rare cases of unusual blood clots”.

A press conference is expected from the European drug regulator either on Wednesday or Thursday, where its latest findings will be announced on the matter.

The World Health Organisation is also expected to report findings from an assessment this week, but has thus far maintained that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh any risks.

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