<p>The risks of developing a blood clot from the contraceptive pill are much greater than from the AstraZeneca jab</p>

The risks of developing a blood clot from the contraceptive pill are much greater than from the AstraZeneca jab

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As concerns over the AstraZeneca vaccine continue to mount, women are asking why so little attention has been awarded to the risks of taking the pill.

The Government is engaged is a desperate campaign to maintain public confidence in the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid jab amid concerns that it could heighten the risk of developing a very rare form of blood clot.

And while only 19 people have died from the clots out of the 20 million people to have received the vaccine in the UK, the risks of developing a clot from the contraceptive pill are much greater. Yet, women have been perscribed it for decades.

BBC Health Correspondent Anna Collinson pointed out: “The MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) estimates four people in a million who receive the AZ vaccine will develop unusual blood clots.

“Interesting to compare to another medicine given to a healthy population - EMA (European Medicines Agency) say if 10,000 women receive the contraceptive pill for a year they expect to see four excess blood clots.”

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Meanwhile, journalist Vicky Spratt asked: “Given the risk modelling, if this isn’t OK why is hormonal contraception? The risk of blood clots is higher with the pill?”

And Labour MP Jess Phillips commented: “I’ve had a blood clot caused by medication that women are prescribed every single day without a care in the world.

“Let’s make sure we are careful to properly understand the rare nature of what is being reported.”

It comes after the UK drugs regulator recommended that those under the age of 30 be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca jab due to emerging evidence linking it to the extremely rare blood clots.

Out of the 20 million people who have received one dose of the vaccine, 79 people developed blood clots. This amounts to a risk of one in 250,000, or 0.0004 per cent.

Both the MHRA and the EU’s regulator, the EMA, have said the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks.

However, those under 30 will now be offered the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, where possible, to reduce the risk of developing blood clots.

By constrast, NHS GP Margaret McCartney wrote in the Lancet health journal last year that the risk of developing a blood clot from the combined oral contraceptive pill is one in 2,000 people, or 0.05 per cent.

Meanwhile, The National Blood Clot Alliance in the US, puts the risk at around 0.1 per cent.

Labour politician Alice Perry said: “If we’re comparing the side effects of the AZ vaccine and the contraceptive pill, can we have a conversation about what more could be done to make the pill safer and more pleasant?

“As well as blood clots, there’s weight gain, depression, mood swings etc. Women deserve better.”

While journalist and campaigner Dr Frances Ryan commented: “Disabled women are often told we can’t be prescribed the contraceptive pill because of the risk of blood clots.

“But (we) apparently are not on the list of people given the right to an alternative to the Oxford jab (unless under-30 or history of clots). Make it make sense.”

On Thursday, leading vaccine expert Professor Adam Finn echoed these concerns. He told Good Morning Britain:

“The contraceptive pill is a medicine that women take not because they are ill but as a choice in terms of how they are living their lives.

“The risks of thrombosis that come with taking the pill are very much higher (than the AstraZeneca vaccine).

“Every year, a woman runs a risk approaching one in a hundred of getting some kind of thrombosis and some of those thromboses are severe and even life threatening as well.”

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