A BRADFORD doctor says he is concerned the Covid vaccine programme may lose pace among people aged under 30 after one of the vaccines will not be given to this age group.

The benefits of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine continue to outweigh any risks for most people, the UK medicines watchdog has said, as European regulators ruled that unusual blood clots were "very rare side effects" of the jab.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the UK said there were still huge benefits of the vaccine in preventing Covid-19, and has not concluded that it causes rare clots, although it says the link is getting firmer.

But due to a very small number of blood clots in younger people and a changing risk/benefit, those under the age of 30 will be offered Pfizer or Moderna instead of the AstraZeneca jab.

Dr Tamjeed Abdul Hakeem, who runs the Barkerend Health Centre Covid-19 vaccination hub at the Bradford Moor Practice at Barkerend Health Centre, has backed the stance but worried the news may lead to vaccine hesitancy among some people.

He said: "The link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and the clots have, as far as I understand, still not been established.

"The measure of offering under-30s an alternative should, at this stage, be done as a precaution.

"I think it is the right thing to do and clearly the data available regarding the clots and the AstraZeneca vaccine needs further analysis by the scientists before we can made any conclusions.

"However, we must remember that AstraZeneca is a very safe and effective vaccine and people should not be afraid of having the vaccine when offered this.

"The risk of developing clots and dying from Covid-19 infection is much higher than any possible rare vaccine side effect that may exist."

Despite it remaining safe, Dr Hakeem also fears some people may now refuse the AstraZeneca vaccine due to fear of what they have seen in the news.

He added: "The AstraZeneca vaccine has saved many thousand people from severe illness and death.

"The alternative vaccines are likely to be the other two vaccines that have so far been approved by the MHRA, which are the Pfizer, which we have used since mid-December, and the Modena vaccine, which is now starting to be delivered to the vaccination sites in UK.

"However I am a bit concerned about the possibility of the Covid vaccination programme losing pace among the eligible people under 30 due to the supply of these vaccines being more limited.

"My message to people of any age is that they should trust the MHRA advice and have the Covid vaccine when offered. "The AstraZeneca vaccine is still safe and the new advice is a precautionary measure."

Dr Hakeem gave 103-year-old woman, Khanim Bi, of Barkerend, her first Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccination at his practice last month.