Nicola Sturgeon has said she will take the coronavirus vaccine “without hesitation” when she is invited, despite some European countries pausing the use of the AstraZeneca jab.
Speaking at the coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh on Monday, the First Minister said there had been “no current evidence” linking the inoculation to blood clots, after a number of countries, including the Republic of Ireland and the Netherlands, suspended its use.
Chief medical officer Dr Gregor Smith also added that findings in the UK showed people given the vaccine in the UK were actually less likely to get a blood clot.
With the vaccination rollout set to ramp up in the coming weeks after supply issues, the First Minister said: “I personally am in the age group that will be vaccinated before mid-April, so I’m hoping to see my blue envelope appear at some point over the next couple of weeks.
“As soon as I get that invitation to go to be vaccinated, I will be there without hesitation, regardless of which of the vaccines I have been offered and I would urge anybody who is getting the invitation to come and be vaccinated to get vaccinated.
“It provides you, and people you love, and people that hopefully over the next weeks and months you’ll be interacting more with, with significant protection and that is really important.”
The chief medical officer said the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) monitors notifications from doctors and other healthcare staff who believe adverse effects are caused by new medicines or vaccines.
“What we can say at this point in time, if you look at the data, particularly around blood clots, within Europe and the UK, is that it is no more common to have an episode of blood clot than you would see in the general population. In fact, it’s somewhat less, if we’re being honest, with the number of cases that are being identified here,” Dr Smith said at the briefing.
“Between one and two in 1,000 people every year would suffer a blood clot and in 17 million or so vaccinations that have been given by this AstraZeneca vaccine so far, we’re not seeing any signal coming through whatsoever that suggests there is any more than expected blood clots within that population.”