GP on vaccine blood clot fears: 'Listen to experts, not social media'

Nurse Hayley Kirk. The first Ipswich covid vaccinations are being administered at Two Rivers Medical

GPs have urged people to have the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine despite the blood clot fears - Credit: Charlotte Bond

A GP from Suffolk has urged people to look at expert evidence on the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine rather than be scared by rumours on social media. 

Dr John Havard, from Saxmundham Health, said there were four patients who cancelled their coronavirus vaccination appointments on Tuesday, stating fears about the Oxford vaccine as the reason.

This is despite recent evidence from AstraZeneca, showing there have been just 37 cases of blood clots reported out of 17million people who have been vaccinated in Europe. 

In a statement, AstraZeneca said: “This is much lower than would be expected to occur naturally in a general population of this size and is similar across other licensed Covid-19 vaccines." 

Mildenhall covid 19 vaccine centre has opened today Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Cases of blood clots are said to be low - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Dr Havard, who has been a GP in Saxmundham since 1986, has urged patients to keep their Covid-19 vaccination appointments.

"People get scared, people panic and lose track of the fundamental statistics and risks," he said.

"Covid is seriously risky, people have got to keep a cool head and look at the data.

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"The evidence of you getting a clot is just not there, you need to listen to what the experts say, not what people are saying on social media." 

Describing the cancellations being "disturbing", Dr Havard added: "A vaccine decliner is a person at the upstairs window of a burning house with flames all around them declining to go onto the fireman’s ladder because it does not look safe!"

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organization have all said they believe the vaccine is safe. 

Health secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock said: "We keep the effects of these vaccines under review all the time and we know that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is saving lives in the UK right now so if you get the call, get the jab."

Prime minister Boris Johnson also confirmed he would be receiving the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

The PM, who spent time in intensive care with Covid last year,  told MPs:  "The best thing I can say about the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine programme is I have finally got news that I'm going to have my own jab very shortly."

You can read the latest update from the MHRA here.