Northamptonshire total nears 280,000 as vaccine experts confirm Covid jabs are safe
County team has "full confidence in UK regulator's expert judgement"
Northamptonshire's Covid-19 vaccination teams are urging people not to be put off booking jabs after fears of possible side-effects were rubbished by regulators.
Latest NHS figures published yesterday (Thursday) showed 262,100 people in the county received at least one dose of the life-saving vaccine up to March 14.
A further 16,185 have now had a vital second dose between three and 12 weeks after the first.
Concerns were raised over potenital problems with the Oxford-AstraZenica vaccine — which has been used for the vast majority of jabs in Northamptonshire.
But experts in both the UK and Europe cleared gave it the green light after a "thorough and careful review."
A spokesperson for Northamptonshire's vaccination programme today (Thursday) insisted: “The Covid-19 vaccine is safe and effective and is our best protection against coronavirus.
"As with all vaccines the AstraZeneca vaccine is regulated by the MHRA — which is still encouraging people to continue getting the vaccine when asked to do — and we have full confidence in their expert judgement and processes.
“Wherever you live in Northamptonshire, if you are offered the vaccine, please take up that offer and attend your vaccination appointment. "
Innoculation programmes are being resumed across Europe following a pause over reports of clots in the brain.
Dr June Raine, chief executive of the UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, said anyone with a headache for four days after receiving a jab should seek help.
But she added: "Mild flu-like symptoms remain one of the most common side effects of any Covid-19 vaccine, including headache, chills and fever.
"These generally appear within a few hours and resolve within a day or two, but not everyone gets them."
Dr Raine added: "We have received a very small number of reports of an extremely rare form of blood clot in the cerebral veins occurring together with lowered platelets soon after vaccination.
"This can occur naturally in people who have not been vaccinated, as well as in those suffering from Covid-19.
"Our thorough and careful review, alongside the critical assessment of leading, independent scientists, shows that there is no evidence that that blood clots in veins is occurring more than would be expected in the absence of vaccination, for either vaccine.
"Given the extremely rare rate of occurrence of these events among the 11,000,000 people vaccinated and as a link to the vaccine is unproven, the benefits of the vaccine in preventing Covid-19, with its associated risk of hospitalisation and death, continue to outweigh the risks of potential side-effects.
"You should therefore continue to get your jab when it is your turn."
Anyone over 50 in Northamptonshire or who is classed as clinically extremely vulnerable is now eligible for the vaccine and will be contacted by the national booking service or local GPs offering an appointment.
A pop-up vaccination centre will operate at Northampton Mosque and Islamic Centre on Clare Street from 2-5pm today (Friday) aiming to encourage people from BAME and Asian communities to take up offers.
Just under 49 per cent of those in the youngest priority group tackled so far — the 55 to 59-year-olds — have received jabs, according to yesterday's figures.
The government have set a target of vaccinating everybody over 50 by mid-April.
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