Boris Johnson Insists AstraZeneca Vaccine Is Safe And Confirms He Is Getting The Jab On Friday
The PM has encouraged people to attend their vaccine appointments
The Prime Minister has sought to reassure people the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine is safe to receive following an investigation into a connection with cases of blood clots.
Speaking at a Downing Street press conference, the Prime Minister urged people to attend their vaccine appointments as he insisted the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab was "safe and effective".
Johnson reiterated earlier announcements by the UK and EU medical regulators who said the benefits of the jab "far outweigh the risks" and found there was no evidence to link the vaccine with a small number of cases of blood clots across Europe.
Referencing the latest review, Johnson said the investigations had "confirmed the benefits of the vaccine in preventing Covid far outweigh any risks, and people should continue to get their vaccine when asked to do so".
He confirmed that the UK remained set to stick to a number of dates on which lockdown restrictions will be relaxed, despite supply issues addressed by health secretary Matt Hancock in the House of Commons this afternoon.
"Our roadmap to freedom depends on the continued success of our vaccination programme, so it is reasonable for people to want to be continually reassurged," Johnson continued.
"Not only that our vaccines are safe and effective but that we have the supply that we need.
"The Oxford jab is safe and the Pfizer jab is safe. The thing that isn't safe is catching Covid which is why it is so important we get our jabs as soon as our turn comes."
The PM underlined his reassurance with confirmation that he was receiving his first dose of the Oxford jab tomorrow.
"The centre where I am getting jabbed is currently using the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab for those receving their first dose so that is what I will be having," he said.
Johnson confirmed that the UK would face a reduction in the number of available jabs during April due to a delay in a delivery of four million doses arriving from India, while a further batch of 1.7 million doses which had arrived in the UK required re-testing.But he insisted the slow down would not impact on the UK's current vaccination timeline, saying he wanted to reassure the public that "if you come forward after receving your letter, we have the jabs for you".
"We have always said that in a vaccination programme of this pace and this scale some interuptions in supply are inevitable," he said.
"As a result, we will receive slightly fewer vaccines in April than in March, but that is still more than we received in February. The supply we do have will still enable us to hit the targets we will set."
Dr June Rain, chief executive of the UK's medicines regulator, MHRA, which conducted the study in the safety of the vaccine, bolstered Johnson's reassurance, and said people "can have every confidence in the thoroughness of our review".
"We have been able to gather a large amount of data on the safety profile of the available vaccines and have done a rigorous scientific review of all the available data with regards to suspected blood clots," she added.
She said there was "no difference" that blood clots were happening more often that would be expected "in the abscence of vaccination in either vaccine".