AstraZeneca shares fall 1% after regulator says under-30s should not take vaccine

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SOURCE- DAILYMAIL: AstraZeneca‘s share price has slumped by one per cent after UK health chiefs said Britons under 30 should not take its vaccine.

The British-Swedish pharmaceutical firm, based in Cambridge, suffered a blow to its jab this afternoon following mounting evidence linking it to rare blood clots.

The company’s shares were trading at 7.110 points on Tuesday morning but it dipped down to 7.107 at 8am before a sharp rise back up to 7.139 within 20 minutes.

It continued to fluctuate throughout the morning and early afternoon – straying from 7.160 at 9.47am to a lunchtime low of 7.121 – as the market waited for drugs watchdog the MHRA to present its findings.

The stocks took their biggest hit just after 3.30pm when it was announced the jabs should not be used on people under 30.

The share price nosedived back down to 7.110 points at 3.40pm before staying steady at 7.111 when the markets closed at 4.30pm.

Despite the news, the UK medicines watchdog said the benefits of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine continue to outweigh any risks for most people.

European regulators ruled that unusual blood clots that have hit headlines in the past week were ‘very rare side effects’ of the jab.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said there were still huge benefits of the vaccine in preventing Covid-19, and has not concluded it causes rare clots, although it says the link is getting firmer.

Due to a very small number of blood clots in younger people and a changing risk/benefit, those under the age of 30 will be offered Pfizer or Moderna instead of the AstraZeneca jab.

Dr June Raine, chief executive of the MHRA, told a briefing that the clots were ‘extremely rare’.

She added: ‘Based on the current evidence, the benefits of the Covid-19 vaccine AstraZeneca against Covid-19 and its associated risks – hospitalisation and death – continues to outweigh the risks for the vast majority of people.

‘Our review has reinforced that the risk of this rare suspected side effect remains extremely small.’

But she added: ‘The evidence is firming up and our review has concluded that while it’s a strong possibility, more work is needed to establish beyond all doubt that the vaccine has caused these side effects.’

Professor Wei Shen, chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, said the recommendation to prefer other vaccines to AstraZeneca for the under-30s was ‘out of the utmost caution’ rather than because of ‘any serious safety concerns’. 

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