Oxford University Suspends AstraZeneca Trial on Children As Medicines Regulator Investigates Rare Blood Clots in Adults

The University of Oxford has suspended a small trial of its COVID-19 vaccine with AstraZeneca on children and teenagers as a United Kingdom medicines regulator investigates rare blood clot reports in adult recipients.

Oxford University Professor Andrew Pollard said in a statement that the trial had “no safety concerns,” but its scientists are waiting for further data from the investigation of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on the potential link between the vaccine and rare blood clots.

“Whilst there are no safety concerns in the paediatric clinical trial, we await additional information from the MHRA on its review of rare cases of thrombosis/thrombocytopaenia that have been reported in adults, before giving any further vaccinations in the trial,” Pollard stated.

Pollard also advised participants of the trial, which involved around 300 volunteers, and their parents to continue attending all scheduled visits and that they can contact the trial sites if they have any questions.

The suspension came after MHRA reported over the weekend 30 blood clot cases out of over 18 million doses administered in the U.K. 

MHRA also confirmed seven deaths among the 30 cases as of March 24.

However, MHRA Chief Executive June Raine said that people should continue to receive their vaccine “when invited to do so,” adding that their “thorough and detailed” review on the blood clot reports is ongoing.

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

European Medicines Agency (EMA) Vaccine Strategy Head Marco Cavaleri said that to say there was “no cause and effect relationship” between the vaccine and the blood clots was “increasingly difficult.”

The latest findings from MHRA and EMA are expected to be announced in the coming days.

The World Health Organization is also expected to announce their findings this week.

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