Britain's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on Thursday said that 41 more rare blood clots have been reported following the administration of AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine, but maintained that the benefits offered by the shots still outweighed the potential risks.
The MHRA said in a weekly update that there were now a total of 209 reported blood clots that occurred after an AstraZeneca shot was administered, Reuters reports. There have also been 41 deaths that followed the clots the MHRA said.
British officials have stressed that blood clots are extremely rare, saying an "extremely small” number of people have experienced this side effect. As Reuters reports, around 22 million first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered. Like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, AstraZeneca's is administered in two doses spaced up to 12 weeks apart.
The controversy surrounding the AstraZeneca blood clots caused many European countries to temporarily suspend the use of the vaccine. The U.K. did not suspend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, though the MHRA did recommend that it be limited to people over the age of 30 due to the potential risk. Officials are considering raising the recommended age to 40, Reuters notes.
In March the European Medicines Agency said it had found the AstraZeneca vaccine to be safe for use, but added it could not rule out a possible link to blood clots. Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Norway and Denmark all suspended the use of the vaccine. Denmark became the first country to permanently drop AstraZeneca as a COVID-19 vaccine.