Dominic Raab says AstraZeneca jab is ‘safe’ and urges people to get vaccine as several countries halt its use

Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 1:05 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 1:06 pm
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has urged people to continue to get their Covid vaccinations (Photo: YE AUNG THU/AFP via Getty Images)

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has urged people to continue to get their Covid vaccinations, after a number of European countries have halted the rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab.

Numerous countries, including the Netherlands, the Republic of Ireland, Germany, France, Italy and Spain, have stopped administering the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine due to concerns over blood clots.

However, the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), as well as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) have said the vaccine is safe to use.

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‘There is no extra risk on the evidence that we’ve seen’

The number of those developing blood clots after the vaccine is below those that would be expected in the general population, and the Foreign Secretary has urged people to still get the jab.

Mr Raab told BBC Breakfast: “Different countries have different approaches but I can tell you crystal clear that the UK regulator, the European EU regulator and the WHO all say that the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe and people should continue to take it.”

He added: “It is safe, people should get the vaccine and I think it has been very clear, both from the MHRA, the UK regulator, that the risks of taking the vaccine are no more than, in terms of for example blood clots, than the population at large.

“There is no extra risk on the evidence that we’ve seen, which is why they have authorised the vaccine and haven’t taken any further action.

“We respect the process and procedures that some other countries may need to go through but the vaccine is safe and people should certainly continue to take it and to protect themselves and their friends and family,” Mr Raab added.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the MRHA was “one of toughest and most experienced regulators in the world”.

“They see no reason at all to discontinue the vaccination programme… for either of the vaccines that we’re currently using,” he added.

Joao Vale de Almeida, EU ambassador to the UK, also said it was not an EU decision to suspend the rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, but the decision of individual governments.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “It is not an EU decision, these are decisions taken by individual governments.

“Like the British Government, all our governments are worried, concerned and focused on the safety of citizens, when doubts appear for whatever reason I think the principle of caution prevails.”