The number of people who have died in the UK after developing blood clots following vaccination with the AstraZeneca jab has increased to 19, the UK medicines regulator said on Wednesday.
But the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) insisted that the benefits of vaccination “continue to outweigh any risks.”
Of the 79 cases, 44 were cases of blood clots in the brain, known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), and 35 took place in other major veins.
The cases occurred in 51 women and 28 men, aged from 18 to 79 years. MHRA said the higher ratio of women affected may be partly explained by the fact that more women have received the vaccine than men.
Out of the 79 cases, 19 people—13 females and six males—have died. Eleven of them were under the age of 50, three of whom were under 30.
Fourteen of these 19 cases were of blood clots in the brain and five were of blood clots in other major veins.
All 79 cases occurred after the first of the two recommended doses of the vaccine, MHRA said.
The regulator said last week that the death toll from the blood clots was seven by March 24.
“This risk, based on reports up to and including March 31, is slightly higher than the risk calculated from the reports published up to and including March 24,” said MHRA.
It said that 20.2 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine had been administered in the UK, and the overall risk of blood clots is about four people in a million.
Dr. June Raine, chief executive of MHRA, said no link has been established between the blood clots and vaccination.
“Our thorough and careful review, alongside the critical assessment of leading, independent scientists, shows that there is no evidence that that blood clots in veins is occurring more than would be expected in the absence of vaccination, for either vaccine,” she said.
Also on Wednesday, the European Medicines Agency, the European Union’s drug regulation agency, said there is a “possible link” between the AstraZeneca vaccine and “very rare” blood clots, but recommended that vaccinations continue and stressed the benefits outweigh the risks.
Jack Phillips contributed to this report.