Director Of Public Health ‘Baffled’ By Decision To Suspend COVID Vaccine And Encourages Cumbrians To Get The Jab

By Rachael Grealish

Cumbria County Council’s Director of Public Health has called other country’s decision to suspend the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine ‘baffling’ as he reassured residents of its safety.

A number of countries – including France, Germany and Norway – have decided to suspend use of the UK-developed COVID-19 vaccine as a precaution following reports that some people have suffered blood clots after being given the jab.

Since then the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have both said the vaccine is safe and risk of blood clots is minimal.

Although there has been statements made in order to clear up doubts over people receiving the vaccine, some still remain sceptical.

In a bid to reassure Cumbrians Colin Cox told The Herdwick News the vaccine is ‘safe and effective’ and is ‘strongly urging’ residents to continue their uptake of the vaccine when they’re offered it.

He said: “The decision of a number of countries to suspend use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is baffling.

“There have been 37 reports of blood clots following over 17 million doses of the vaccine being given – that’s actually a lower incidence of blood clotting than you’d expect to see just by chance, so there’s absolutely no evidence that the vaccine can cause blood clots.

“The fact that these figures are available at all shows just how carefully the safety of the vaccine is monitored, and far from being concerned about it I think people should be significantly reassured that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is both very safe and highly effective.”

The Cumbrian DPH went on to say vaccine uptake is necessary for avoiding a third wave of the Coronavirus.

“A failure of vaccine roll-out is one of the reasons that many parts of Europe are now entering a third wave and further lockdowns,” he continued.

“So if you are offered vaccination in the coming days I’d strongly urge you to take it – it is safe and effective.”

Around 17 million people in the EU and the UK have received a dose of the vaccine, with fewer than 40 cases of blood clots have been reported as of last week, it was stated by AstraZeneca.

The drug company stated these numbers were ‘much lower than would be expected to occur naturally in a general population of this size’.

In response to the news the MHRA explained blood clots can occur naturally and the number of them occurring in the UK following a vaccine ‘not greater than the number that would have occurred naturally in the vaccinated population’.

Dr Phil Bryan, MHRA Vaccines Safety Lead said: “We are closely reviewing reports but the evidence available does not suggest the vaccine is the cause.

“Blood clots can occur naturally and are not uncommon. More than 11 million doses of the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca have now been administered across the UK, and the number of blood clots reported after having the vaccine is not greater than the number that would have occurred naturally in the vaccinated population.

“We are working closely with international counterparts in understanding the global safety experience of COVID-19 vaccines and on the rapid sharing of safety data and reports. People should still go and get their COVID-19 vaccine when asked to do so.”