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Women Are Not At Greater Risk From Blood Clots After The AstraZeneca Vaccine, MPs Told

Of the 79 incidences of blood clot events following the AstraZeneca jab, 51 were female and 28 were male (Alamy)

3 min read

The chair of the government’s Commission on Human Medicines has told MPs that there was no evidence that women were more at risk of blood clots following a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Appearing before the science and technology committee on Wednesday, Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed said the incidence rate was comparable between men and women, despite women accounting for more cases and deaths. 

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) confirmed earlier this month that of the 79 incidences of blood clot events following the AstraZeneca jab, 51 were female and 28 were male. 

The 79 cases resulted in 19 deaths, of which 13 were among females and six were males.

But, asked by Labour MP Rebecca Long-Bailey whether women were more at risk of blood clots, Sir Munir said that more women had been given the vaccine than men, which they was believed to account for the discrepancy."There are two things to consider. The first is the way the vaccine was deployed, particularly in healthcare workers and social care workers,” he said. 

"The majority of the workforce there is female and so they had higher exposure rates.

"But when you then start relating to the exposure rate in different populations, what you find is that the case incidence rate between male and female is actually very similar.

"So, from our data that we've got in the UK, it doesn't look as if the females are at a higher risk of this adverse event compared to males."

He added that having a history of thrombosis was also not seen as a risk factor.

"The only risk factor that we are finding is age in that there is a slightly higher risk in the younger age group compared to the older age group. That is the only risk factor that we're finding at the moment,” Sir Munir continued.

Earlier in April, the UK's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended that people under 30 should be offered other vaccines because of an "extremely small" number of cases of blood clots in some who have had the jab. 

Deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van Tam described the clots as "vanishingly rare", but an incredibly serious side effect nonetheless. 

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has also said that unusual blood clots should be listed as a possible very rare side effect of the AstraZeneca jab, but insisted that the benefits outweighed the risks.

But the World Health Organisation's advisory vaccine safety panel has insisted that, although a blood clot link was "plausible", it was "not confirmed" and the cases were "very rare" among 200 million people vaccinated with AstraZeneca globally.

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