THE Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine has been suspended for use in some countries after reported health concerns, but UK scientists and experts have reassured people the jab is safe.

The vaccine has been suspended for use in Ireland and the Netherlands, the latest countries to express worries over the jab after some people have reported blood clots following getting the jab.

However, medical and scientific experts have been quick to reassure people that there is "no indication" the vaccine has caused these conditions, and the clots are most likely coincidental.

What has happened in these countries?

There have been a small number of reports of people experiencing blood clots in the days and weeks after their vaccination.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) reported one person in Austria was diagnosed with blood clots and died 10 days after vaccination, but it stressed there is “currently no indication that vaccination has caused these conditions”.

Another person was admitted to hospital in Austria with pulmonary embolism (blockage in arteries in the lungs) after being vaccinated, while one death involving a blood clot was reported in Denmark.

A 50-year-old man is also thought to have died in Italy from deep vein thrombosis (DVT), while there has been an unconfirmed report of another death in Italy.

Ireland’s decision followed reports of serious clotting in adults in Norway which left four people in hospital.

Ireland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Iceland and Norway have halted using the Oxford jab, while Italy, Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Luxembourg and Lithuania all stopped using doses from one batch sent to 17 countries after someone died following a vaccination.

Very few details have been given about the individuals, including whether they had any underlying conditions that already raised the risk of blood clots.

Thailand and Congo said they would delay use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

What are UK regulators saying?

The MHRA had already issued a statement last week saying more than 11 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine had been administered across the UK with no issues.

After the Republic of Ireland’s decision to suspend use, Dr Phil Bryan, MHRA vaccines safety lead said: “We are aware of the action in Ireland.

“We are closely reviewing reports but given the large number of doses administered, and the frequency at which blood clots can occur naturally, the evidence available does not suggest the vaccine is the cause.”

He said people “should still go and get their Covid-19 vaccine when asked to do so.”

The EMA also said the benefits of the jab outweigh the risks, and the 30 blood clots have come in almost five million vaccinations.

The World Health Organisation has also said the vaccine is safe.

What have UK scientists said?

British scientists are not concerned by these reports from the continent.

The overwhelming scientific opinion is that there is no certain link between blood clots and the vaccine, and the reported cases could easily be coincidental.

They argue the risks from Covid-19 far outweigh any potential side-effects from the jab, with many saying blood clots are fairly common, regardless of vaccination.

Stephen Evans, professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: “The problem with spontaneous reports of suspected adverse reactions to a vaccine are the enormous difficulty of distinguishing a causal effect from a coincidence.

“This is especially true when we know that Covid-19 disease is very strongly associated with blood clotting and there have been hundreds if not many thousands of deaths caused by blood clotting as a result of Covid-19 disease.

“The first thing to do is to be absolutely certain that the clots did not have some other cause, including Covid-19.”

AstraZeneca, which developed the jab in partnership with the University of Oxford, added a “careful review of all available safety data” of more than 17 million people vaccinated in the EU and UK with the AstraZeneca jab has shown “no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or thrombocytopenia, in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country.”

Its chief medical officer Dr Ann Taylor said the number of cases of blood clots reported in this group “is lower than the hundreds of cases that would be expected among the general population”.

To book your Covid-19 vaccine, if you are eligible, go to the NHS website. You may also be contacted by your GP to book the vaccine when it is your turn for the jab.