This is from Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccine deployment minister.
Van-Tam is summing up.
He says he hopes people will feel they have seen authentic experts doing their best to keep people safe.
And that’s it.
I will post a summary shortly.
Q: Are there any reasons women are at more risk than men?
Pirmohamed says of the 79 cases, 51 were in women. But that may be because more women have been getting the vaccine, he says. He says if you make allowance for the number of vaccines administered by gender, there is no difference, he says.
Q: Are there things that could be done to mitigate this risk?
Pirmohamed says an immune response seems to be targeting platlets. It is not clear why. When they understand this, they might be able to prevent it in individuals with risk factors, or they might be able to adapt the vaccine, he says.
Q: Does this mean young people could get the one-shot Janssen vaccine, and be able to go on holiday more quickly?
Van-Tam says the alternatifve now is the Pfizer vaccine.
The Moderna one will be available from mid-April in England.
The Janssen vaccine could become available over the summer, he says, but he says they do not know for certain when it will be available.
He says the UK’s plan was always to have “multiple horses in the race”.
He says it would have been impossible to pick this up without having deployed millions of doses of vaccine.
He says they do not know if other vaccines will present similar problems. They won’t know till the use them, he says.
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Raine says the link between the vaccine and the blood clotting condition is “reasonably plausible”. But more work needs to be done on it, he says.
Q: Why can’t older people be given an alternative vaccine too? Some countries are not giving the AZ vaccine to the under-55s or the under-60s. Are they being too cautious?
Lim says every country has to make their own decisions. They take into account factors like the amount of Covid they have, the vaccines they have, and the amount of risk people will accept.
In some countries life expectancy will be much lower than in the UK. That means their assessment of risk will be different, he says.
He says, for the UK, they decided it was best to set the threshold at around the age of 30.
He says they do not know yet if this rare condition is related to one vaccine, or to several. And he says it may be linked to Covid, and not to the vaccine at all.
Van-Tam says the JCVI was free to make its own recommendation. It was free to decide what it wanted.
He says in the 40 to 49 age group, not using the AZ vaccine would avert 0.5 harms per 100,000 people. But it could risk an extra 51.5 ICU admissions. He says it would have been “absurd” to stop using the vaccine on people in that age group in those circumstances.
Van-Tam says many vaccine manufacturers are working on a vaccine for children. So the AZ vaccine is “not the only show in town”, he says.
Pirmohamed says there is a slightly higher risk of the rare clotting condition in younger people than in older people.
He says it is not clear why yet. More work needs to be done on this, he says.
He says the trial of the vaccine on children was paused out of an abundance of caution.
Q: Are the risks significantly higher for the under-30s?
Lim says it is not just the risk to an individual. There is a slightly higher risk to younger people compared with older people. But the key points is that the risk/benefit balance changes, because older people are at so much greater risk from coronavirus.
That is why the under-30s are being offered an alternative.
Van-Tam says his slides did not make allowance for the risk to young people of getting long Covid after an infection. The slides just focused on the risk of ending up in ICU.
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Van-Tam says some people might have to wait longer for a jab, but impact on overall programme timetable ‘negligible’
Van-Tam says the impact of this on the overall timetable for the rollout of vaccines should be “zero, or negligible”.
He admits this is a course correction.
But he says this is normal in a vaccine programme.
The programme is a massive beast. If you sail a massive liner across the Atlantic, you are going to have to make at least one course correction.
He says the NHS will get the right vaccine to people.
But there might be a “small delay” for some people, and some people might have to travel a “slightly greater distance” to get their jab.
JCVI confirms under-30s to be offered alternative to AZ jab
Prof Wei Shen Lim is now giving the JCVI’s advice.
The information given to people getting the vaccine should be updated, he says.
People should get the AZ vaccine according to schedule, he says.
But he says people aged 18 to 29 who do not have an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk from Covid should be offered an alternative to the AZ vaccine if one is available.
Van-Tam then show an alternative chart with the risk/benefit balance with a higher exposure risk (ie, if there were a high level of coronavirus in Britain). In those circumstances, even for younger people, the benefits are much stronger.
Van-Tam says risk/benefit balance for AZ vaccine for younger people could be finely balanced
Van-Tam says we have now heard from the regulators.
He is now presenting slides what illustrate the potential benefits and the potential risks.
He says the figures behind this slide assume that Covid cases are at a lower rate than they are now.
He says the figures also assume the vaccine benefit lasts for 16 weeks. But in practice the vaccines are expected to offer protection beyond that.
He says the chart shows that, in younger age groups, the risk/benefit balance is finely balanced. For older people, it is very clear, he says.