0718 GMT May 07, 2021
The British acknowledgement of deaths comes as several European countries have paused the use of the AstraZeneca jab over a potential link to blood clots, AFP wrote.
The UK's The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency, or MHRA, said in a statement that "out of the 30 reports up to and including 24 March, sadly 7 have died”.
The Netherlands on Friday halted vaccinations with the AstraZeneca jab for people under the age of 60 after five new cases among women, one of whom died.
Germany took a similar decision earlier this week.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA), which like the World Health Organization previously declared the AstraZeneca vaccine safe, is expected to announce updated advice on the issue on April 7.
The EMA said again on Wednesday it believes the vaccine is safe and that experts have found no specific risk factors such as age, gender or medical history.
The UK regulator said that the 30 reports of thrombosis, submitted by medics or members of the public via a government website, came after 18.1 million doses of the vaccine had been administered in the country.
Most of the cases (22) were cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, a rare condition when a blood clot forms in the brain.
Eight other cases saw people suffer thrombosis and low levels of blood platelets, which help blood clot.
There were no reports of blood clots from the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine it said, adding that "our thorough review into these reports is ongoing."
“The benefits of COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca in preventing COVID-19 infection and its complications continue to outweigh any risks and the public should continue to get their vaccine when invited to do so,” said Dr. June Raine, the regulator's chief executive.
AstraZeneca said last month following US efficiency trials that its vaccine is 79% effective at preventing the disease and does not increase the risk of blood clots.
The UK has administered more than 31 million first vaccine doses, using both the Oxford-AstraZeneca and the Pfizer-BioNTech jabs. People cannot choose which one they get.
The UK in June 2020 ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and supported its development. It also ordered 30 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine the same year.
Adam Finn, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Bristol, said the “extreme rarity” of the blood-clotting events in the context of the millions of jabs administered in the UK makes the decision facing people very straightforward.
“Receiving the vaccine is by far the safest choice in terms of minimizing individual risk of serious illness or death,” he told AP.
A more detailed look at the MHRA’s findings show that of the 30 cases, 22 related to cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, which stops blood draining from the brain properly, and eight were connected with other thrombosis events with low platelets.