Response to MHRA and EMA vaccine announcement

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"Today's announcements from the MHRA and EMA - following yesterday's assurance from the WHO - should reassure patients, not only in the UK but around the world that the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe, as well as effective at protecting people from Covid-19.

"More than 25 million patients have now received the first dose of their Covid-19 vaccine in the UK. Many will have received the AZ vaccine, and many will have experienced no side effects, at all. The vast majority of side effects that have been experienced, such as muscle ache and flu-like symptoms, have been minor and self-limiting.

"Any vaccine that is in use in the UK has gone through a rigorous approval process to ensure it is safe and effective. Whilst vaccines for Covid-19 have been developed at speed, no corners were cut and patient safety has been, and remains, paramount. The MHRA have said available evidence does not suggest blood clots are caused by the AZ vaccine, and the EMA has said the AZ vaccine is not associated with increased overall risk of blood clots. It is, of course, right that rare cases of blood clots continue to be investigated.

"We hope today's announcements from the MHRA and EMA help to rebuild any confidence that has been lost in the vaccine. We continue to encourage all patients to come forward for their vaccination, when they are invited to do so - and if patients have had their first dose, to come back for their second as planned."

Further information

(For media only)

RCGP Press office – 020 3188 7633/7494/7574
Out of hours: 020 3188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.