THE Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is "safe and effective", Wales' chief medical officer has said.

This comes after the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency's (MRHA) earlier announcement that people under the age of 30 should be offered alternative vaccines.

Speaking after the announcement, Dr Frank Atherton said: "We are considering the details of today’s announcements by the MHRA and the JCVI but we do not envisage a delay to the roll out of our vaccine programme in Wales.


"The Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine remains safe and effective and has already saved thousands of lives.

"The Welsh Government, Public Health Wales and NHS Wales are working with other agencies to continually monitor vaccine safety and will keep this issue under close review.

"In Wales, people’s safety will always come first and we will only use vaccines where it is safe to do so and the benefits continue to outweigh the risks.

"Vaccines are the best way out of this pandemic and provide strong protection against Covid-19 – it is important that when people are called forward, they should get their jab.

"To date, over 1.5 million people in Wales have received a first dose of vaccine and a further 475,000 have also received a second dose.

"Everybody who has already had a first dose of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine should be reassured that they can receive a second dose of the same brand, irrespective of age."

In a press conference earlier on Wednesday, Dr June Raine, chief executive of the MHRA said more than 20 million doses of the jab have been administered in the UK, and - as of March 31 - the MHRA had received 79 reports of blood clots accompanied by low blood platelet count, all in people who had their first dose of the vaccine.

Of these 79, a total of 19 people have died, although it has not been established what the cause was in every case.

The 79 cases occurred in 51 women and 28 men, aged from 18 to 79.

Of the 19 who died, three were under the age of 30, the MHRA said.