The Oxford University has announced a pause on the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine trial in children amid reports of blood clots.
Over the past few months, AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine has been the centre of great controversy. Last month, multiple European countries paused the vaccine rollout after reports of thromboembolic events among vaccinated individuals. Now, the vaccine manufacturer has reportedly paused a small UK trial in children. Due to rising concerns of blood clots.
In early February, AstraZeneca began testing its vaccine in children as young as 6 years of age. The trial recruited a small sample of only 300 children aged 6 to 17 years. Researchers aimed to test the vaccine’s efficacy and safety in children. Moreover, Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson have also begun their vaccine trial in the younger age group. Researchers believe vaccinating children will likely help countries achieve herd immunity faster.
UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is currently investigating a link between the vaccine and the development of blood clots. On Tuesday, Oxford University announced the pause on the small UK trial as it was awaiting the results from the investigation. However, the statement urged that the pause was not due to any safety concerns with the trial itself.
EMA Finds a Link
Earlier this week, the European Medical Agency (EMA) confirmed a possible link between AstraZeneca’s vaccine and unusual blood clots with low platelets. Although the risk is extremely low, the committee suggests adding blood clots as a rare side effect of the vaccine. However, they concluded that the benefits of the vaccine preventing COVID-19 outweigh the risk of developing side effects.
Moreover, the World Health Organization (WHO) has also stated that the benefits of AstraZeneca outweigh the risks. Thus, urging people to go ahead with their vaccinations.
The University of Oxford is currently not administering any more doses of the vaccine to children. However, they advised parents to continue with their scheduled visits. And to get in touch with the vaccine site in case of questions.