AstraZeneca vaccine: ‘more than enough’ Pfizer and Moderna jabs for under-30s, Health Secretary says

Matt Hancock said those aged between 18 and 29 will be offered an alternative to AstraZeneca due to the increasing evidence linking it to rare blood clots.

There are “more than enough” Moderna and Pfizer vaccines in the UK for people under-30, the Health Secretary has said.

Those aged between 18 and 29 will be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca jab due to increasing evidence linking it to rare blood clots in young adults.

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However, Matt Hancock said the vaccine is safe and the risk of experiencing a brain clot was the same as "taking a long-haul flight".

Matt Hancock said there was "more than enough" Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for people under-30s

He also praised the vaccine rollout saying that it had clearly broken the link between Covid cases and deaths in the UK.

Matt Hancock’s message to young adults on vaccines

Speaking directly to younger people who may be thinking they do not need a vaccine, Mr Hancock told BBC Breakfast: "The vaccines are safe, and if you want to have the Pfizer vaccine or Moderna vaccine instead then that is fine.

"Covid is a horrible disease and long Covid affects people in their 20s just as much it seems as any other age group and can have debilitating side effects that essentially ruin your life."

He added: "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."

All vaccines ‘safe for all ages’

He told Sky News: "The number of people dying from Covid halved in the last nine days... and is down 90% from the peak."

All vaccines in use in the UK were "safe for all ages", but the "extremely rare" risk of suffering a rare brain blood clot, and the tipping of the balance of risk for the under-30s, means they could be given other jabs instead.

Mr Hancock said there were almost 10.2 million people aged 18 to 29 in the UK, of whom 1.6 million have had their first vaccine.

79 reports of blood clots out of 20 million doses

On Wednesday, the MHRA said the benefits of the vaccine still outweigh the risks overall.

While it has not concluded that the vaccine causes rare brain clots, it says the link is getting firmer.

Up to March 31, the MHRA in the UK has received 79 reports of blood clots accompanied by low blood platelet count, all in people who had their first dose of the vaccine, out of around 20 million doses given.

Of these 79, a total of 19 people have died, with three under the age of 30.