Take your second dose of AstraZeneca when offered, Sheffield GP advises
A Sheffield GP has reassured the public on AstraZeneca vaccine safety, urging those who had their first jab to go for their second one when offered.
Dr Anthony Gore from Sheffield CCG said this amid concerns surrounding the vaccine, which appeared to be associated with 79 rare cases of blood clotting and 19 deaths.
His advice came after an announcement made by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, saying that those under 30 will be offered alternatives to the AstraZeneca vaccine, more than 20 million of doses of which have been administered since December.
He said the extremely rare case of blood clots was linked with the first dose - and if there are no symptoms like bruising or bleeding, there is no reason not to have the second dose.
"If you've always had an AstraZeneca jab at any age, and if you've not had any problem with it, you are absolutely fine to have the second one.
"The really rare blood clots are associated with the first dose, so no reason not to have your second dose to make you fully protected."
He said the Government's advice on Wednesday was a "precautionary measure" and not because the vaccine carries a big risk.
"If let's say you're 25 and you get called in the coming weeks and you get the AstraZeneca vaccine because it hasn't been banned, you could take it very, very safely."
This means, he said, those offered AstraZeneca vaccines even though other alternative vaccines are available like Pfizer or Moderna, they are advised to discuss it with their GP about the real absolute risks of the vaccine.
"That is just to take away the worry, really. However, the actual risk even in the 18-30 age group is tiny compared to everyday normal activity like the number of people killed on the road.
"It's still very important you get vaccinated even though the risk of you dying of Covid is and always was, very, very low.
"Even with AstraZeneca vaccine, it is very important to know that the benefits still outweigh the risks. And we are just taking extra precautionary measures."
With the latest changes, Dr Gore said this would also mean that the age group, if they want to get a different vaccine, might get vaccinated slightly later than originally planned as they need enough alternative vaccine to come in stock.
He added those with higher risk of blood clots like pregnant women are also advised to have a conversation with their GP before being inoculated.
Dr Gore also reiterated the return to normal lives depends on the the majority of the population getting vaccinated.
"Out of the 20 million people who had the vaccine in the UK, there are 79 cases of blood clots with 19 deaths.
"So, it is unbelievably rare even our health regulators MHRA and World Health Organisation said we can carry on using it,” he said.
He said the vaccine is "nowhere near as risky to a life as everyday activity" which we would do without thinking of the danger.
"This is less compared to everyday activities like going on your bike or driving in your car or any other mundane thing that we don't think as dangerous."