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Coronavirus

UK Regulator Backs Benefits of COVID-19 Vaccines

February 5, 2021

LONDON — Britain’s drug regulator says the coronavirus vaccines being used across the country appear safe and that “the benefits continue to far outweigh any risks,” according to its latest monitoring data.

In a statement published on Friday, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said that of the more than 10 million COVID-19 vaccines administered, there have been 22,820 reports of suspected side effects, for a rate of about 3 per 1,000 doses.

The figures are based on vaccines given to people from December 9, 2020 to January 24. The COVID-19 vaccines currently being used in Britain are made by Pfizer and BioNTech, and AstraZeneca, which were both approved for use in December.

“The vast majority of side effects are mild and all are in line with most types of vaccine, including the seasonal flu vaccine,” the agency said. It noted the most commonly reported side effects were sore arms and mild flu-like symptoms.

Last month, Norwegian authorities told doctors to consider whether the risks of the Pfizer vaccine were warranted before giving the shot to extremely frail or terminally ill patients. The recommendation came after there were deaths reported of people who had received at least one dose of the vaccine.

The European Medicines Agency issued a report last week saying it had no evidence the Pfizer vaccine was responsible for the deaths and that it appeared safe and effective.

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