U.K. Leaders Move to Reassure Public Over Astra Concerns

British authorities moved to reassure the public that the AstraZeneca Plc vaccine is safe after a number of countries including Ireland suspended the shot over concerns about possible side effects.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman Jamie Davies said the vaccine remains “both safe and effective,” and urged everyone to get the shot when asked to do so.

“There is no evidence of any causal link between blood clots and the A.Z. vaccine,” Davies said at a regular briefing with journalists on Monday. “Blood clots occur naturally and there is no evidence that they are any more likely to occur following vaccinations.”

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon echoed those comments, saying the U.K. regulator -- the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency -- had found no evidence of any increase in clots.

“As you would expect, though, the MHRA is continuing to monitor this carefully, and remains in regular contact with other regulators,” she said. “There is, however, significant and growing evidence of the benefits of vaccination in reducing death, illness and, we hope, transmission -- and the vaccination program continues to make very good progress.”

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