AstraZeneca has insisted its coronavirus vaccine is safe, after concern around blood clots prompted Ireland to become the latest European country to suspend use of the jabs.
A review of available safety data in more than 17 million people who have been vaccinated across the UK and EU has shown no evidence of increased risk, the pharmaceutical giant said.
People across the UK are still being urged to get their vaccine.
The number of cases of blood clots reported is lower than the hundreds of cases that would be expected among the general population, AstraZeneca’s chief medical officer Ann Taylor said.
The statement came after Irish health minister Stephen Donnelly said that use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab was being temporarily suspended as a “precautionary step”.
The decision followed reports of serious clotting in adults in Norway which left four people in hospital.
Several other European countries have temporarily suspended use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jabs.
The UK’s medicines regulator said available evidence does not suggest the vaccine is the cause of the blood clots.
Dr Phil Bryan, vaccines safety lead at the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, said: “We are aware of the action in Ireland.
“We are closely reviewing reports but given the large number of doses administered, and the frequency at which blood clots can occur naturally, the evidence available does not suggest the vaccine is the cause.
“People should still go and get their Covid-19 vaccine when asked to do so.”
AstraZeneca said its review had found no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or thrombocytopenia, in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country.
Dr Taylor said: “Around 17 million people in the EU and UK have now received our vaccine, and the number of cases of blood clots reported in this group is lower than the hundreds of cases that would be expected among the general population.
“The nature of the pandemic has led to increased attention in individual cases and we are going beyond the standard practices for safety monitoring of licensed medicines in reporting vaccine events, to ensure public safety.”
Donnelly said: “The decision to temporarily suspend use of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine was based on new information from Norway that emerged late last night.
“This is a precautionary step.”