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Is the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine safe?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged the British public to continue getting vaccinated, despite concerns being raised about the AstraZeneca jab. Yesterday, a senior official from the European Medicines Agency said there appears to be a 'clear link' between the Oxford vaccine and rare blood clots.

And, as a UK trial of the vaccine is paused - is there a real cause for concern?

The University of Oxford said in a statement: "Whilst there are no safety concerns in the paediatric clinical trial, we await additional information from the MHRA on its review of rare cases of thrombosis/thrombocytopaenia that have been reported in adults, before giving any further vaccinations in the trial.

Boris Johnson has said that getting the population vaccinated was "the key thing", while he visited the AstraZeneca manufacturing plant in Macclesfield.

"On the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, the best thing people should do is look at what the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) say, our independent regulator - that's why we have them, that's why they are independent," he said.

"Their advice to people is to keep going out there, get your jab, get your second jab."

He added: "The best thing of all is to vaccinate our population, get everybody out getting the jab, that's the key thing and that's what I would advocate, number one".

The MHRA has said it identified 30 cases of rare blood clot events out of 18.1 million doses of the jab administered up to and including March 24.

There have been seven deaths among the 30 cases.

But the regulator said the benefits of the vaccine in preventing coronavirus outweigh any risks and it urged the public to continue coming forward for the jab.

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