Coronavirus vaccine UK news – Blood clot fears 'overblown' and Europe's AstraZeneca jab ban WILL kill people, JCVI warns

Coronavirus vaccine UK news – Blood clot fears 'overblown' and Europe's AstraZeneca jab ban WILL kill people, JCVI warns

March 17, 2021

BLOOD clot fears over the AstraZeneca vaccine are being overblown – and suspending the jab WILL kill people, a top expert has warned.

15 countries suspended their AstraZeneca jab rollouts this week amid vague claims of a link to blood clots, although shameless France and Italy have both since resumed and admitted the ban was politically motivated.

On BBC Radio 4 this morning, Professor Jeremy Brown, a consultant in respiratory medicine and member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said Germany had been "overblowing" the risk.

"The concerns about these blood clots are overblown by the Germans… by stopping the vaccine it will cause more illness and more deaths," he said.

He added that the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab is "very safe" and "incredibly effective", going on to say "We're in the middle of a pandemic that we won't get out of until everyone has been vaccinated." 

He added the suspending the vaccines for "spurious reasons is a bad way to move forward" and "all the publicity coming from Europe doesn't help us." 

Today Matt Hancock today wrote in The Sun that there was absolutely no evidence the jab causes blood clots with all research suggesting the vaccine has no discernible impact on the likelihood of developing a clot compared with not taking it.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said on March 10 it would be investigating a spate of blood clotting cases in Europe. But it later urged countries to continue vaccinating because the benefits of being protected outweigh any potential risk.

The UK medicine regulator – the MHRA – also says the jab is safe and encourages Brits to accept their offer of a vaccine when it arrives.

And the World Health Organisation also reiterated its guidance that the Oxford / Astra-Zeneca vaccine is safe.

Follow our coronavirus live blog below for the very latest news and updates on the pandemic

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    NORWAY NOW EXPERIENCING THIRD WAVE, SAYS HEALTH MINISTER

    Norway is experiencing a third wave coronavirus infections, Health Minster Bent Hoeie said today.

    "We are in a third wave," he told a a news conference.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    JOHNSON IS 'DEEPLY, DEEPLY SORRY' OVER WHAT HAS HAPPENED DURING THE PANDEMIC

    Boris Johnson has said he is "deeply, deeply sorry" for what has happened to the UK during the pandemic. Labour's Richard Burgon (Leeds East) said a year on from the outbreak of Covid-19 in the UK, it is clear that "the Prime Minister dithered and delayed with deadly consequences".

    He added: "With the worst hopefully now behind us, isn't it time for the Prime Minister to hold up his hands and come clean with the British people and say those deaths are on me and for that I apologise?"

    The Prime Minister replied: "Well I certainly take full responsibility for everything the Government did and of course we mourn the loss of every single coronavirus victim and we sympathise deeply with their families and their loved ones. Am I sorry for what has happened to our country? Yes of course I am deeply, deeply sorry.

    "Of course there will be time for a full inquiry to enable us all to understand what we need to do better when we face these problems in the future and that is something I think the whole House shares."

  • Alice Peacock

    SUPPORT FOR MERKEL SLIDES AS ANGER GROWS OVER VIRUS MANAGEMENT

    Support for German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives has sunk to the lowest level in a year, according to polling from social research company Forsa.

    The hit in popularity comes as frustration grows over Merkel's government's management of the coronavirus crisis.

    Facing a federal election in September without Merkel, who is standing aside after four terms, the Christian Democrats (CDU) and Bavarian CSU sister party dropped 4 percentage points in a week to 29%, the Forsa poll showed.

    That is the lowest level since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in Germany in March 2020 and follows historic defeats in two regional votes on Sunday.

  • Alice Peacock

    OPEN FOR BUSINESS

    Special vaccine passports could speed up the full return to bars, restaurants and theatres, say reports.

    Michael Gove is heading a review into certification which could lead to Brits having to prove they have been vaccinated or received a negative test before heading out on the town.

    The Cabinet Office Minister said the passports could help “reopen the country and return to normal” but then added there may be ethical considerations.

    The review will now look at “the extent to which certification would be effective in reopening parts of the economy and society more quickly and more safely than otherwise”.

    It will also consider the “ethical, equalities, privacy, legal and operational aspects” of any scheme, reports the Mirror. Read the full story here.

  • Alice Peacock

    CONTINUED

    Another area that has witnesses a steep increase in cases is East Lindsey in Lincolnshire, where in the last week infections have jumped from 45.2 per 100,000 to 91.0.

    March 15 marked a year since the first Covid patient was admitted to hospital in the area.

    The local council this week thanks NHS staff after it had to issue a warning to residents on social media after NHS staff and volunteers received abuse at vaccination sites in the area.

    Elsewhere and cases have also risen in north-eastern Leicestershire, jumping from 44.9 to 89.8.

    In North Lincolnshire cases have also risen from 80.7 to 124.8.

  • Alice Peacock

    WHERE IN THE UK ARE COVID CASES STILL RISING?

    CORONAVIRUS cases are still rising in 121 places in England and this interactive map reveals if your local area is on the list.

    Official data from Public Health England (PHE) states that in the last seven days, 190 areas have seen a fall in infection rates.

    Of the 121 places that have seen a rise in cases over the last week, there are five local authority areas that have witnessed a sizeable increase.

    While Corby is the most infected local authority in England it has also seen the biggest week on week increase in cases.

    Public health chiefs in the area have this week insisted that the reopening of schools has nothing to do with the spike in cases in the area.

  • Alice Peacock

    PRINCE CALLS FOR PANDEMIC-STYLE RESPONSE TO STOP OBESITY

    Prince Charles has called for a pandemic-style response to stop kids getting fat – and wants doctors to prescribe “good quality food”.

    He praised the way healthcare workers reacted to Covid in an article, saying it should be applied to tackling chronic health issues.

    The Prince of Wales wrote in Future Healthcare Journal: “When we hear that a quarter of 14-16-year-old girls are self-harming and almost a third of our children are overweight or obese, it should make us realise that we will have to be a bit more radical in addressing these problems.  

    “As medicine starts to grapple with these wider determinants of health, I also believe that medicine will need to combine bioscience with personal beliefs, hopes, aspirations and choices.

    “Doctors have a crucial role in affirming the importance of good quality food just as they do good quality medicines.”

  • Alice Peacock

    ‘IT’S A MESS’

    The situation in Europe is getting increasingly desperate as health chiefs in some countries suspend the AstraZeneca jab over unsubstantiated blood clot fears.

    Italy needs 38million shots of the vaccination – as its jabs roll-out was branded a “mess” by senior politicians.

    Here’s everything you need to know.

  • Alice Peacock

    PARIS REGION BRACES FOR WEEKEND LOCKDOWN AS MACRON DECIDES ON NEW RESTRICTIONS

    French president Emmanuel Macron is reportedly deciding whether to impose a weekend lockdown in Paris, and the surrounding region.

    France is facing a "third wave" of the Covid-19 pandemic and an inoculation drive that has been greatly affected by doubts over the AstraZeneca vaccine, French news outlet RFI reports.

    The French capital could be forced into a lockdown at weekends, as Prime Minister Jean Castex suggested on Tuesday, in a bid to prevent the spread of a third wave of the coronavirus.

    Recommendations would be presented to President Macron this morning.

  • Alice Peacock

    EMPTY COVID-19 VACCINATION CENTRE IN GERMANY

    Photos have emerged of an empty Covid-19 vaccination centre in Germany, after the AstraZeneca campaign was put in hold.

    The vaccination centre at the Erfurt, Germany, exhibition centre appeared to be deserted in the images, taken on Tuesday.

    Germany joined a dozen EU nations on Monday in suspending use of the AstraZeneca jab.

    After the AstraZeneca vaccinations were put on hold, thousands of appointments are cancelled in the region.

    An empty vaccination centre in Erfurt, Germany
  • Alice Peacock

    PACK YOUR BAGS!

    The EU is set to agree to a Covid passport scheme that will allow jabbed Brits and those with antibodies to travel.

    The bloc will publish details of its “digital green pass” in order for people to go on holiday in time for summer, it’s been reported.

    The EU’s passport will allow those from non-EU countries to travel there if they are “in a position to present certificates under a system deemed sufficiently reliable,” according to a leaked document obtained by Bloomberg.

    Here’s the story.

  • Alice Peacock

    HEALTH SEC DEFENDS 1% PAY RISE FOR NHS WORKERS

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock said a one per cent pay rise for NHS workers was an increase, not a cut.

    Giving evidence to the Health Select Committee, he said that NHS workers had been “carved out” of the pay freeze in the rest of the public sector.

    When asked why it was 1% when the NHS 10-year plan made a 2.1% provision for annual pay increases for NHS workers, he said: “The NHS was carved out of the pay freeze that has been applied due to the enormous pressure on the public finances, that has been applied to everyone else in the public sector.

    “We put in place evidence reflecting what is affordable and we of course will study what the pay review body says.”

  • Alice Peacock

    CAMILLA GETS ASTRAZENECA JAB

    The Duchess of Cornwall spoke out yesterday about receiving the AstraZeneca jab.

    Camilla said the specifics of the jab didn’t matter to her, as she said “you take what you are given”, the Daily Mail reported.

    ‘It doesn’t hurt. I was waiting for it to be done and they said, ‘It has been done’. It was painless. It was brilliant. It’s very good when it’s over as you feel more secure,” she said.

    Her remarks come amid concerns over the AstraZeneca vaccine; panic over blood clot fears have swept across the European mainland and led to 14 governments calling a halt to the roll-out.

  • Alice Peacock

    CALLS FOR GOVT-BACKED COVID INSURANCE FOR EVENTS

    Ministers risk ruining Britain's “summer of fun” if they don’t introduce a government-backed Covid insurance scheme for live events.

    Campaigners and MPs are calling for a parachute package to be out in place to help organisers in the event of a Covid outbreak scuppering festivals, gigs or large sporting events.

    Events like the Great North Run are under threat without the insurance according to the Let LIVE Thrive campaign.

    The Great North Run’s Chairman, former Olympian Sir Brendan Foster, said: “Insurance is a central aspect of our planning every year.

    "Live events need the government to step in, put these structures in place and give us the security we require.”

  • Alice Peacock

    OVER 50S WHO'VE NOT HAD THEIR COVID VACCINE CAN BOOK THEIR APPOINTMENT ONLINE NOW

    Anyone over the age of 50 has been advised to book their coronavirus vaccine online.

    The speedy jab rollout has nearly finished, whizzing through those aged 56 and above, with just those in their early 50s left to vaccinate before the NHS moves on to the rest of the population.

    The NHS website has updated, telling everyone aged 50 and over to book their potentially life-saving Covid vaccine.

    It means the mid-April target to vaccinate all over 50s and the most vulnerable – the top nine priority groups – could be smashed by the end of March.

    The second phase of the rollout will see the general population jabbed by age group.

  • Alice Peacock

    UK BEACHES TO INTRODUCE COVID MARSHALS AND DRONES

    Beaches across the UK are to introduce new schemes including drones and Covid marshals to avoid overcrowding this summer.

    Britain is expecting a huge boom in domestic holidays due to travel restrictions abroad, with parts of the country even selling out for the peak summer months.

    According to the BBC, the new scheme includes flying drones for crowd control, Covid marshals and a park-and-ride scheme to prevent gridlock and busy roads.

    The local council said the new measures were being introduced to "cope better across the resort with the anticipated surge in demand," adding: "Peak days will be managed like a major event."

    The app introduced last year which showed the most crowded parts of the beach will also be reintroduced to help visitors social distance.

  • Alice Peacock

    SUPPORT FOR MERKEL SLIDES AS ANGER GROWS OVER VIRUS MANAGEMENT

    Support for German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives has sunk to the lowest level in a year, according to polling from social research company Forsa.

    The hit in popularity comes as frustration grows over Merkel's government's management of the coronavirus crisis.

    Facing a federal election in September without Merkel, who is standing aside after four terms, the Christian Democrats (CDU) and Bavarian CSU sister party dropped 4 percentage points in a week to 29%, the Forsa poll showed.

    That is the lowest level since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in Germany in March 2020 and follows historic defeats in two regional votes on Sunday.

  • Alice Peacock

    CONCERNS VACCINE PASSPORTS COULD BE 'DISCRIMINATORY'

    Brits holding out for a holiday will be thrilled with the news the EU is introducing vaccine passports.

    But Vaccine MInister Nadhim Zahawi has expressed concerns that the passports could be "discriminatory".

    He told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge last month: “One, we don't know the impact of the vaccines on transmission.

    “Two, it would be discriminatory and I think the right thing to do is to make sure that people come forward to be vaccinated because they want to, rather than it be made in some way mandatory through a passport.

    “If other countries obviously require some form of proof, then you can ask your GP because your GP will hold your records and that will then be able to be used as your proof you've had the vaccine.”

  • Alice Peacock

    HALF OF ALL ADULTS TO BE JABBED BY END OF WEEK

    Half of all adults in the UK could be vaccinated by the end of this week as the jab rollout surges ahead. 

    Some 24.4 million Brits have already been inoculated – under two million short of half of all over-18s in the country.

    It comes after over 770,000 jabs were given out over the weekend – with 512,108 doled out on Saturday alone. 

    Supplies are also set to receive a boost this week, with around four million doses to become available. 

    NHS England has written to vaccine providers to urge them to ensure they have the staff in place to ramp up capacity. 

  • Alice Peacock

    ‘KEEP GETTING ASTRAZENECA VACCINE’, SAYS MATT HANCOCK

    The Health Secretary has urged Brits to keep getting the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

    He wrote: “The UK’s vaccination rollout is a national success story. It’s a tribute to everyone involved and shows what our country can achieve.

    “From the Vaccines Taskforce to the NHS, our Armed Forces and the people coming forward in their millions, the roll-out has been a massive national effort.

    “We all have a stake in that success. After all, vaccines are only useful when they become vaccinations.

    “This is so important, because we know getting the jab is the best way to protect ourselves and the people around us. It is also our way out of this pandemic.”

  • Alice Peacock

    PORTUGAL REMOVED FROM ‘RED LIST’

    Portugal has been REMOVED from the UK’s “red list” which banned all travel to the country – in a huge boost for summer holidays later this year.

    Travel to the country has been prohibited over Covid variants, and returning Brits were forced to pay £1,750 to quarantine for 10 days at a quarantine hotel.

    Portugal, the only country in Europe to have been on it, has now been taken off – giving Brits hope of a summer holiday later this year.

    This means travel will not be banned and anyone returning from the country can instead quarantine for 10 days at their own home.

    It was originally placed onto the red list due to the risk of new variants, in particular the Brazil variant due to its connecting flights to the country.

  • Alex Winter

    PACK YOUR BAGS!

    The EU is set to agree to a Covid passport scheme that will allow jabbed Brits and those with antibodies to travel.

    The bloc will publish details of its "digital green pass" in order for people to go on holiday in time for summer, it's been reported.

    The EU's passport will allow those from non-EU countries to travel there if they are "in a position to present certificates under a system deemed sufficiently reliable," according to a leaked document obtained by Bloomberg.

    Here's the story.

  • Alex Winter

    'IT'S A MESS'

    The situation in Europe is getting increasingly desperate as health chiefs in some countries suspend the AstraZeneca jab over unsubstantiated blood clot fears.

    Italy needs 38million shots of the vaccination – as its jabs roll-out was branded a "mess" by senior politicians.

    Here's everything you need to know.

  • Alex Winter

    CAMILLA GETS ASTRAZENECA JAB

    The Duchess of Cornwall spoke out today about receiving the AstraZeneca jab.

    Camilla said the specifics of the jab didn't matter to her, as she said "you take what you are given", the Daily Mail reported.

    'It doesn't hurt. I was waiting for it to be done and they said, 'It has been done'. It was painless. It was brilliant. It's very good when it's over as you feel more secure," she said.

    Her remarks come amid concerns over the AstraZeneca vaccine; panic over blood clot fears have swept across the European mainland and led to 14 governments calling a halt to the roll-out.

  • Katie Davis

    'MINISTERS RISK RUINING BRITAIN'S SUMMER OF FUN'

    Ministers risk ruining Britain's “summer of fun” if they don’t introduce a government-backed Covid insurance scheme for live events.

    Campaigners and MPs are calling for a parachute package to be out in place to help organisers in the event of a Covid outbreak scuppering festivals, gigs or large sporting events.

    Events like the Great North Run are under threat without the insurance according to the Let LIVE Thrive campaign.

    Tory MP Julian Knight said: “It is utterly pointless to spend a king’s ransom on furlough and the culture recovery fund yet not to put the one piece of the jigsaw in place – namely Covid-19 insurance – and scupper what could be a festival and live events season which could lift all our spirits.

    “I respectfully say to the Secretary of State and the Chancellor – who is the real roadblock – that we are in danger of having a summer of none rather than a summer of fun.”

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