This website is intended for healthcare professionals only
User log in




Trial log in
  
May 2021

New vaccine advice for under 40s



The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that people under 40 should be offered an alternative to the Oxford/AstraZenica COVID vaccine.

The committee has reviewed the latest available evidence, including the current COVID-19 infection rate, the scale and pace of the vaccine programme and modelling of the timing and size of any third pandemic wave.

This has been considered alongside the latest advice from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on extremely rare cases of concurrent thrombosis (blood clots) and thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) following the first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

The chances of a younger person becoming seriously ill with COVID-19 get smaller as infection rates increasingly come under control in the UK.

JCVI has advised a preference for adults aged 30 to 39 without underlying health conditions to receive an alternative to the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine – where available and only if this does not cause substantial delays in being vaccinated.

This follows the decision on 7 April to offer a preference for adults aged under 30.

The COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective and have been shown to substantially reduce the risk of death, severe disease and transmission of infection.

Over 34 million people have received a first dose so far. The vaccine programme is estimated to have prevented over 10,000 deaths by the end of March.

Adverse events following the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine are extremely rare and, for the vast majority of people, the benefits of preventing serious illness and death far outweigh any risks.

Up to 28 April 2021, the MHRA had received 242 reports of blood clotting cases in people who also had low levels of platelets in the UK, following the use of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. These numbers are very small compared to the millions of people who have received the vaccine. The overall incidence of case reports of thromboembolic events with low platelets after first or unknown doses was 10.5 per million doses.

Practice Nurse 2021;51(4):6