PEOPLE under 30 in the UK are to be offered an alternative vaccination after an analysis revealed that their risk of serious adverse side effects from the AstraZeneca jag outweighed the benefits. 

It comes as the regulator confirmed that there have been a total of 79 rare blood clots in people given the Oxford-AZ vaccine, including 19 deaths. 

Three of the deaths were in people aged under 30. 

The regulators stressed that while the benefits outweigh the risks for the vast majority of the population, the risk-benefit ratio in younger people "is more finely balanced". 

An analysis, presented by England's Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van Tam, showed that in the 20-29 age group the vaccine prevented 0.8 Covid intensive care admissions per 100,000 people every 16 weeks, but caused 1.1 cases of serious harm in every 100,000 people over the same period. 

This was based on coronavirus rates being low (roughly two cases per 10,000 people), as they were in March.

When coronavirus rates were higher - such as at the peak of the second wave - the benefit of the vaccine significantly outweighed the risk in all age groups, including under-30s. 

In every other age group, even when exposure risk was low, the benefit outweighed the risk of harm. 

For example, in the 30-39 age group, the ratio was 2.7 ICU admissions prevented per 100,000 compared to 0.8 cases of serious harm per 100,000. 

The rate of serious harms declined with ascending age groups, to a low of 0.2 per 100,000 every 16 weeks for the 60-69 age group, when the vaccine was associated with prevented 14.1 ICU Covid admissions per 100,000 people. 

Dr June Raine, chief executive of the MHRA, said: "The balance of benefits to risks is very favourable for older people, but it is more finely balanced for the younger people.

"We at the MHRA are advising that this evolving evidence should be taken into account when advising how the vaccine is used."

Dr Raine said anyone with potential clot symptoms four days or more after vaccination "should seek prompt medical advice".

These include: severe or persistent headache; blurred vision; shortness of breath; chest pain; persistent abdominal pain; and unusual skin bruising or pinpoint spots beyond the injection site. 

The MHRA advises that pregnant women should discuss with their doctor whether the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the risks. 

People with history of blood disorders that increase the risk of clotting "should only have AZ is benefits outweigh the risks", and anyone who experiences cerebral clotting or other major blood clots occurring together with low platelets after a first Oxford-AZ dose "should not have second dose". 

A total of 20 million doses of the vaccine have been administered so far in the UK, with 79 cases of rare blood clots reported, said the MHRA. 

Of these, 19 people have died, including three people under 30. 

Fourteen out of the 19 deaths involved cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) - a type of blood clot in the brain which blocks the vein.

These were accompanied by low levels of platelets, which is unusual. 

There were also five deaths in people with other blood clots who also had low platelet counts.

Of the 79 clotting incidents reported, 51 were in women and 28 in men, with patients aged between 18 to 79 years old.