Under 40s to be offered Moderna or Pfizer vaccines
As of Friday 7 May 2021, advice from Britain's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is that adults aged under 18-39 will be offered an alternative coronavirus vaccine to the AstraZeneca vaccine, such as the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. This is to avoid the very slight risk of blood clotting that's been observed in younger people receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Those who have already had one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, including those under 40, should still attend their second dose appointment. These rare blood clots were associated with the first dose of the vaccine and people who have already had one dose of AstraZeneca are advised to still have the second, to ensure they achieve maximum protection from their vaccination.
Adults aged 18- 39 years with no underlying health conditions are advised not to have the AstraZeneca vaccine due to a small risk of rare blood clots. As a result, people under 40 will be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine where possible, as long as it does not cause delays in having the vaccine, particularly for those who are especially vulnerable to COVID-19. Those who are vulnerable, such as people who are are older, male, from certain minority ethnic backgrounds, in some higher risk occupations, or are obese may still choose to be vaccinated with the Astrazeneca vaccine, after discussion with their doctor.
The vaccination programme in the UK is being led with everyone's safety in mind. For older people, who are more at risk from serious illness and even death from COVID-19, the risks associated with the disease far outweigh any risks associated with the vaccine. For younger people this is more finely balanced, therefore, those aged 18-39 are now being offered an alternative.
With any medicine there are risks and, in this case, even though rare, the JCVI has decided to take the most cautious approach. I would like to assure residents that the vaccines are safe and effective and severe side effects are rare. So, when you are offered your vaccine, please book your appointment as soon as possible. You will be offered the most appropriate vaccine for your age group.
There have been no safety concerns identified with the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, so if you’ve already had one dose, please do attend for your second dose to ensure you have maximum protection against infection.
Recently we had our first death from COVID-19 locally in a number of weeks; the virus is still there and just as dangerous as before. And getting the vaccine is your best defence against the it.