Coronavirus news – live: AstraZeneca jab linked to clots, EMA vaccine chief says, amid UK ‘third wave’ warning

Shops and pubs to reopen on April 12, Johnson confirms

A senior official at the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has said there is a link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and rare cases of blood clots reported across the continent.

The vaccines minister has said the UK’s medicines regulator is looking at “very rare instances of blood clotting”, adding both the Oxford/Astrazeneca and Pfizer jabs saved thousands of lives in the country in a few months.

Meanwhile, experts have warned there could be a “resurgence” of Covid-19 infections as England continues on its route out of lockdown.

Also on Monday, Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, has said Labour is “very sceptical” about Covid passports and wanted more details about how they would work.

It comes after a government paper said they were “likely to become a feature of our lives until the threat from the pandemic recedes”.

But Boris Johnson has said said there will be no vaccine-passport scheme as part of the next two stages of lockdown easing.

1617710401

EY accountancy firm staff held Christmas party ‘reported to the police’

One of the UK’s top accountancy companies have investigated staff members for throwing a Christmas party in London while strict Covid rules on large gatherings were still in place.

Zoe Tidman6 April 2021 13:00

1617710052

‘Get your jab’: Boris Johnson stresses safety of AstraZeneca vaccine

Boris Johnson has stressed the safety of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine amid reports that health regulators are considering limiting its use in younger people.

The prime minister said the vaccination programme would “keep going” and that it was “very, very important” for people to get their second injections when called to do so.

Our policy correspondent Jon Stone has more details on this story:

Matt Mathers6 April 2021 12:54

1617709501

EU vaccine rollout

Most EU countries should have enough Covid-19 vaccines to immunise the majority of their citizens by the end of June, a new report has revealed.

Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain will all be in a position to vaccinate more than 55 per cent of their population before July, according to a European Commission memo cited byBloomberg.

Adam Forrest reports:

Zoe Tidman6 April 2021 12:45

1617708601

‘Really encouraging results’ from Valneva Covid-19 vaccine trials

Matt Hancock has said a vaccine set to be manufactured in the UK has seen “really encouraging results” in clinical trials.

The Valneva Covid-19 vaccine produces a “strong immune response”, the health secretary has said.

Data from an early-stage phase one/two study involving 153 people showed promising results for the jab, paving the way for phase three clinical trial.

The vaccine was safe and generally well tolerated, with no safety concerns identified by an independent data safety monitoring board.

The company said the results showed the vaccine was “highly immunogenic with more than 90% of all study participants developing significant levels of antibodies” to the Covid virus spike protein.

Additional reporting by PA

Zoe Tidman6 April 2021 12:30

1617708317

First batch of Moderna vaccine has arrived in Scotland, Sturgeon says

The first batch of the newly approved Moderna vaccine arrived in Scotland on Monday, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Scotland is due to receive more than one million of the 17 million doses ordered by the UK.

The first minister also said that the doses have already been factored into forward planning for the vaccination programme, and will be delivered over the coming months.

Addressing the coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh, she said: “The fact that we now have three vaccines in use is clearly very welcome and it does give us greater security of supply which is welcome.”

Matt Mathers6 April 2021 12:25

1617707701

Moderna vaccine to be deployed ‘around third week of April’

The Moderna vaccine will be in deployment “around the third week of April”, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has confirmed.

“It will be in deployment around the third week of April in the NHS and we will get more volume in May as well,” he told BBC Breakfast.

“And of course more volume of Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca and we have got other vaccines. We have got the Janssen – Johnson and Johnson – vaccine coming through as well.

“So I am confident that we will be able to meet our target of mid-April offering the vaccine to all over-50s and then end of July offering the vaccine to all adults.”

Zoe Tidman6 April 2021 12:15

1617706201

UK variant and children

In other news, a top US infectious disease expert has warned the UK coronavirus variant could infect children more easily than previous strains.

Joe Middleton reports:

Zoe Tidman6 April 2021 11:50

1617705536

MHRA urges people to continue getting their jabs

June Raine, the MHRA chief executive, has said people should continue going to get their vaccine when invited.

“Our thorough and detailed review is ongoing into reports of very rare and specific types of blood clots with low platelets following the Covid-19 vaccine AstraZeneca,” she said.

“No decision has yet been made on any regulatory action.”

Additional reporting by Press Association

Zoe Tidman6 April 2021 11:38

1617704597

MHRA ‘looking at very rare instances of blood clotting’, minister says

The UK’s medicines regulator is examining potential links between the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab and rare blood clots, the vaccines minister said on Monday.

“To put it in perspective, we have done almost 20 million vaccinations using the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine,” Nadhim Zahawi said.

“Both vaccines have saved something like 6,300 lives between December and the end of February, so it’s important to continue to follow what the clinicians, the scientists, the regulators tell us. And we will absolutely do exactly as they say.”

The vaccines minister said the regulator is “looking at these very rare instances of blood clotting”.

The Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) looks “very closely” at reports of adverse reactions to the vaccines, he told BBC Breakfast.

The agency has said it identified 30 cases of rare blood clot events out of 18.1 million doses of the jab administered up to and including 24 March, out of which there have been seven deaths.

The regulator said the benefits of the vaccine in preventing coronavirus outweigh any risks and has urged the public to continue coming forward for the jab.

Additional reporting by PA

Zoe Tidman6 April 2021 11:23

1617703639

BREAKING: ‘Link’ between AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots, EMA official says

Zoe Tidman6 April 2021 11:07

More Stories
England ‘shouldn’t be hit by a Covid third wave this summer’