How to carry out a DIY coronavirus lateral flow test

Step-by-step guide to testing yourself for Covid-19 at home using free kits.

STV News

Lateral flow coronavirus tests are now available for free across Scotland.

The do-it-yourself kits mean people can test themselves regularly for Covid-19 and self-isolate if needed.

They could play a major role in the eventual return to normality – allowing people to go about their business safe in the knowledge they’re not spreading the virus.

But how do they work?

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Our video above explains everything, or as STV reporter Polly Bartlett says: “If you don’t know how to lateral flow, then we’ll show.”

Find out where you can get free lateral flow testing kits here.


Services cancelled as ‘cracks found’ on high-speed trains

Trains serving Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness and Glasgow have been affected, with some services delayed or cancelled.

PA via PA Media
Disruption: High-speed trains taken out of service.

Rail passengers are being urged not to travel after a number of high-speed trains were taken out of service after ‘cracks were found’.

LNER trains serving Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness and Glasgow have been affected by the issue on Saturday, with some services delayed or cancelled.

The Class 800 Hitachi trains were taken out of service as a “precautionary measure”.

Network Rail said some Great Western Railway (GWR), Hull Trains, London North Eastern Railway (LNER) and TransPennine Express (TPE) trains of the Hitachi 800 model were taken out of service.

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Great Western Railway said cracks were detected on “more than one” Hitachi 800 train, so all 93 Hitachi 800s in their fleet are being inspected as a “precaution”.

A spokesman said: “There’s a crack that’s been spotted and as a result of that – as a precaution – we’re checking all the trains, and while that’s taking place it’s better that they’re not used.

“It’s been found in more than one train, but we don’t know exactly how many trains because the fleet is still being inspected.”

Asked how long the disruption will last, the GWR spokesman said: “It’s a question of how quickly the trains can be inspected – it’s highly likely that it will certainly persist through to the end of today.

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“Once more inspection has been carried out we’ll have a better understanding as to whether that disruption is going to continue into tomorrow.”

The spokesman added that the issue is affecting long-distance journeys between cities, which are being refunded, but that suburban and rural GWR services are still running as normal.

A LNER spokesperson said: “A number of Class 800 series Hitachi trains from several train companies have been taken out of service today for checks as a precautionary measure. 

“This problem is being investigated by Hitachi and once trains have been checked, we hope to be able to release them back into service as soon as possible. 

“This could affect a significant number of our services and passengers are advised not to travel today.”

Mick Lynch, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, said: “RMT is fully aware of the issues that have led to the cancellation of services on LNER today and that similar problems with cracks appearing in the fleet on Great Western are also emerging.

“Hitachi needs to ensure the highest safety standards and properly investigate and rectify the issues.”

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Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association, said passengers should not be charged extra in future to pay for repairs.

“It’s welcome news that railway engineering staff have found these cracks before they led to an accident,” he said.

“This rolling stock must not be allowed back into service until we are 100% certain these trains are safe.

“It’s important to point out that the affected trains are relatively new, in which case the manufacturers should foot the bill for any repairs, not passengers or taxpayers.”

Hitachi Rail has apologised for the disruption caused.

A spokesman said: “We are working with all partners to resolve this issue as quickly and safely as possible.

“We would like to offer our sincerest apologies to passengers for the impact this may be causing for their travel plans.”


Disabled candidate ‘shown lack of respect’ at election count

Staff at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow did not believe that Pam Duncan-Glancy was a candidate.

STV News

A Scottish Parliamentary candidate who uses a wheelchair has spoken of her ordeal in accessing the Glasgow election count after staff took 45-minutes to help her access the Emirates Arena and sit with fellow candidates.

Pam Duncan-Glancy, who is standing for Labour in Glasgow Kelvin and is fourth on the party’s Glasgow list vote, said she was shown a “lack of respect”, with those on site unable to give the right advice on accessibility to the venue.

And Ms Duncan-Glancy also said that staff didn’t believe that she was a candidate after arriving at the facility.

Speaking to STV News, she said: “When I got here today, the parking for disabled people is at one side of the building, which is great, (it’s a) really accessible building, fantastic venue in this city.

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“So, I parked there, as you do with a blue badge, and parked my van up, came in and that was basically not the entrance that everyone else was coming in, so nobody knew where to send me.

“No one knew where to collect my test and trace details, but the most difficult thing was that when I showed my pass people didn’t believe I was a candidate.

“And they said, ‘that’s not the right pass for today’. It is, it was, and it still is, and so that was quite difficult.”

She continued: “Then several people later, we were trying to get information about where should I go. I wanted to sit with other candidates in my party and nobody knew where to send me because the candidates’ area is kind of on the sort of staired seating so nobody knew where to send me.

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“The information hadn’t really got to the right people so it took about 45 minutes for us to be seated. During that time, someone told us that we weren’t allowed to be in certain spaces, I think there was about three of four times that happened to us, and a security person said to us that the place that we’d gone to, we’d be breaking Covid rules if we were to go in that space, which was the direction we’d been told.

“So, basically nobody knew the advice to give a person in a wheelchair or someone with access issues when they got here which is a real shame because I know that Glasgow City Council have put in a lot of effort to this and actually I know that… this is not my first rodeo at these things as I’m sure (viewers) will know and I’ve never had a problem like this before in this particular venue.

“Today I think it was just a mixture of not getting the right information to the right people and a bit of lack of respect to be honest.”

Ms Duncan-Glancy said that she had been issued an apology by both the chief executive of Glasgow City Council and the returning officer at the venue following the incident.

She said: “I think it’s really important to have wheelchair users in elections and disabled people in elections, so it wasn’t how I wanted to start the day shall we say.

“And then you end up feeling like you’re just moaning or you’re just arguing all the time. In actual fact, I’ve had minimal sleep for the past six weeks, I did my best to keep my cool, to use all the resilience I have, but the fact is we shouldn’t have to do that.”

The Labour candidate continued: “The chief executive of Glasgow City Council and the returning officer have both apologised and you know, I have a lot of faith in both of them.

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“They both in the past have been great for things like this. I think what’s happened on this situation is that they’ve not necessarily been able to communicate the situation with the new rules and on this scale.

“But the communication really is part of the biggest problem because actually all they needed to do is make sure that their staff knew.

“I think, as far as I’m aware, I’m probably the only wheelchair user standing in this election. They could have maybe had a bit of a clue that somebody was going to turn up and need some of this availability basically, accessibility being available.

“So not to do that was a bit of an oversight.”

High Holyrood voter turnout is ‘good for democracy’

Professor Rob Johns suggested the Covid-19 pandemic played a part in changing the demographics of postal voters.

Jeff J Mitchell via Getty Images

A high voter turnout in the Scottish Parliamentary election is “good for democracy”, with a rise in postal votes due to the coronavirus pandemic, it has been suggested.

It comes after the Electoral Commission in Scotland indicated that a total of 4,280,785 people – the highest electorate ever for a Scottish Parliament election – had registered to vote this year.

On Friday, high voting turnouts were recorded at early declarations including across the Clydebank and Milngavie, (70.8%, 37,767 votes), the Renfrewshire North and West, (67.9%, 38,367 votes), and the Paisley (62.6%, 35,108 votes) constituencies.

Last year, voting rights were also extended to all foreign nationals with leave to remain, including all those granted refugee status, after the Scottish Elections (Franchise and Representation) Bill was passed at Holyrood.

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Rob Johns, politics professor at the University of Essex, described the high turnout at the ballot box this year as an “unexpected surprise”.

He told STV News: “Most of the polls were suggesting that the turnout would be quite low. This suggests more enthusiasm for voting.

“What is a bit hard to tell is whether it’s enthusiasm for the political parties on show or it’s just enthusiasm for the fact that A, you can actually go out and do something, and B, it was made a lot easier because a lot more people are having postal votes.

“So, it’s an unexpected surprise, it’s good news for democracy, but I don’t think the political parties should get too enthusiastic about how much they’ve attracted voters.”

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Professor Johns also highlighted the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on a rise in the number of postal voters.

He said: “Normally we’d say that a higher turnout is good news for the SNP, they tend to have a bit more difficulty getting their vote out than the Conservatives, mainly because the SNP’s vote is younger and younger people are less reliable voters than older people.

“The suggestion here is that the turnout’s up across the board which suggests that probably all groups and probably all parties are benefitting, but of course they don’t benefit because the others benefit too.

“So, I think it’s going to be just kind of an across the board day for turnout.”

Professor Johns continued: “My guess would be that Covid plays a significant part just because the independence thing was around in 2016 and in fact it was just as big then so what seems to have changed is the pandemic.

“And I suspect that what has happened is that a lot of people thought, ‘right, I’ll get a postal vote given the circumstances’, people who would not otherwise have voted but it’s much easier once you’ve got the postal vote on your table to sort that out.

“And so I think that’s probably what’s happened and what we do see is that the average age of postal voters in this election has fallen a lot, in other words postal voters don’t look like an unusual and especially old group of the population that votes come Hell or high water, they now look more like the general voting population.”

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He added: “Everything will take a bit longer because of the high turnout and that’s going to stretch people’s patience because this is already a bit of an elongated process, but it’ll be worth the wait hopefully.”


Alex Salmond hails Alba party campaign as ‘first-class’

Mr Salmond had pledged that his party could help to create a 'super-majority' at Holyrood for Scottish independence.

STV News

Alex Salmond has said he doesn’t “regret a second” of the campaign his party, Alba, has run in the Scottish Parliamentary election.

Mr Salmond, who was First Minister of Scotland between 2007 and 2014, only launched the party in March this year.

He had pledged that it would help to create a ‘super-majority’ for Scottish independence at Holyrood by winning seats via the list system.

Speaking to STV News, the former SNP leader also said he believes the party can make a “hugely significant contribution” in the future of Scottish politics.

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“I don’t regret a second of the Alba campaign, I think it’s been absolutely first-class, I think it’s been positive, it’s been uplifting, it’s raised the big issues,” said Mr Salmond.

“I hope we’ll get our reward at the ballot box but if we don’t, then we’re standing in good stead for the future.

“Problems in the campaign? Well, frankly broadcasting, I think STV much less culpable than BBC, but nonetheless in an election where you can’t do the things that a new party would normally do – hold mass rallies to galvanise like that because of the Covid restrictions – broadcasting becomes crucial, it becomes dominating and if you’re not in the big debates, then of course that’s difficult, it makes it very, very difficult.

“So my regret about the election is not being treated by fairness with the BBC and my enthusiasm for the election is the near 6000 Alba members and standing with 32 exceptional women and men who’ve taken the Alba standard and made it a household name.

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He added: “As a party, I think there’s a big recognition that Alba’s made an impact in this election and will make a hugely significant contribution in the future of Scottish politics.”

The creation of Alba saw the defection of some SNP members, including the former Scottish justice secretary Kenny MacAskill and also Neale Hanvey, who are both current MPs.

Mr Salmond said that even if Alba fail to win a seat at Holyrood, the party will continue.

He said: “We’ve got a chance of a breakthrough and that would be a remarkable achievement if it happened.

“If it doesn’t happen, then Alba will continue. It’ll continue as a party with thousands of members, elected members in Westminster, councillors across Scotland and with a very distinctive argument.

He added: “The biggest single contribution of Alba to this campaign has been to inject the independence situation front and centre.”


Children urged to read more with Morrisons book swap scheme

Customers can bring along unwanted books to donate and children can pick up a book for free.

Mikael Buck via Morrisons
The Morrisons Little Library will be set up in all Scottish stores this week.

Morrisons has launched the ‘Little Library’ book exchange to promote literacy amongst disadvantaged children.

The scheme was inspired by Canterbury-based children’s author, Rebecca Smith, who approached Morrisons asking for help to tackle the issues surrounding children’s literacy and the lack of availability of books at home.

Morrisons Little Library exchanges will be set up in all stores across Scotland from this week.

Customers can bring along unwanted books to donate and all children, teenagers and parents can pick up a book for free.

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Books will also be donated through the initiative to local schools and community groups, via Morrisons Community Champions.

David Potts, Morrisons CEO, said: “The past year has been extremely difficult for everyone and we want to help as much as we can.

“We know that our younger customers love reading but some may not have access to books of their own.

“That’s why we’re launching the Morrisons Little Library – so every child has the chance to enjoy reading and brighten their future.”

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Rebecca Smith said: “To think that there are children who have never enjoyed a bedtime story is heart-breaking.

“Stories change lives.

“Every child and every parent should have access to that experience.

“The Morrisons Little Library provides that potentially life-changing access.”

Research from The Open University, which has been involved in shaping the initiative, shows that reading books helps children to start conversations, spark imagination and support emotional well-being.

The National Literacy Trust recently reported that children who own books are six times more likely to read above the level expected for their age but that one in 11 disadvantaged children don’t own a single book.

Teresa Cremin, Professor of Education Literacy at The Open University, added, “It’s been great working with Morrisons to help make the Little Library idea a reality.

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“Reading benefits children and young people in so many ways and is especially vital after such a difficult and disruptive year, as it creates a safe space to escape and learn.”

To continue to support children’s literacy, Morrisons has created a new book – Cedric The Seed – and will be publishing 50,000 copies.

The book will be distributed nationwide by Morrisons Community Champions to local community groups and schools to ensure they are reaching those who need them most. 

Cedric the Seed has been written for Morrisons by Danielle Corrigan from Saddleworth, who began writing children’s books last year whilst she was homeschooling her own children.

Danielle began writing positive stories for children to read last year to help them cope with the mental health effects of lockdown.

Inspired by the pandemic and how lives were changed in an instant, the book follows Cedric, a small sunflower seed as he is separated from his family and friends.

The initiative is the latest from Morrisons.

Last month, the retailer gave away over 2.5 million packets of sunflower seeds to customers to grow at home and half a million postcards for people to send messages to their loved ones who they haven’t been able to see due to lockdown. 

Morrisons Community Champions have also launched the “Little Sunshine” awards which aim to recognise those who have gone above and beyond to help their community during the pandemic.

Challenge pack launched to help girls connect with nature

Out and About - Wee Beasties has been launched by Girlguiding Scotland ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week.

Girlguiding Scotland via Girlguiding Scotland
Wee Beasties: A challenge pack has been launched.

A new Girlguiding challenge pack has been launched to encourage girls and young women to connect with nature and learn more about insects and the environment.

Out and About – Wee Beasties has been created by charity organisation Girlguiding Scotland ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week and focuses of the benefits of getting out into nature.

Activities include a wee beastie hunt, to discover and learn about different insects, and an action section encourages girls to create spaces and environments for insects to thrive in.

Groups such as the Isle of Harris Brownies and Isle of Harris Guides took part in the Wee Beastie Challenge where they counted how many different types of insects they could find, documented their findings and planted wildflower seeds to help wildlife habitats.

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Commenting on the challenge, ten-year-old Rowan Reid, from the Isle of Harris Guides, said: “Being outside makes me feel happy, healthy and I enjoy it.

“Beasties are amazing. My favourite beastie is a caterpillar because they’re cute and fluffy.”

And nine-year-old Abigail Gillies, from the Isle of Harris Brownies, added: “I loved being out and about in the fresh air and meeting up with my friends from Brownies makes me feel really happy.

“We like to explore different parts of our village together and discover new things all the time. I really like spring when all the flowers begin to appear.”

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Girlguiding Scotland supports members’ mental health and wellbeing through its unique programme, which includes badges on healthy mind, meditation, self-care and mindfulness.

The organisation’s peer education programme covers resources such as Think Resilient, designed to build mental wellbeing and grow girls’ resilience to help them cope when they’re faced with the pressures of everyday life.


Q&A: Age threshold rises for alternative to AstraZeneca jab

Under 40s will be offered alternative to AstraZeneca vaccine following publication of new figures on blood clots last week.

Grafissimo via IStock
Under 40s will be offered alternative to Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

Under-40s are to be offered an alternative to the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine as a precautionary move.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has raised the age threshold after the UK’s medicines regulator reported new figures on blood clots last week.

The policy of offering an alternative vaccine previously only applied to the under-30s.

The change comes despite the JCVI and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) saying there are no fresh safety concerns.

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The MRHA has said benefits of the vaccine continue to outweigh any risks for the vast majority of people.

– What has the JCVI said?

The JCVI, which advises UK health departments on immunisation, has said there is an “extremely small risk” of people suffering blood clots after having the AstraZeneca jab.

But they added that the risk of serious illness with Covid-19 also drops for younger people as infection rates fall across the country.

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Professor Wei Shen Lim, Covid-19 chairman for JCVI, said: “We have continued to assess the benefit/risk balance of Covid-19 vaccines in light of UK infection rates and the latest information from the MHRA on the extremely rare event of blood clots and low platelet counts following vaccination.

“As Covid-19 rates continue to come under control, we are advising that adults aged 18 to 39 years with no underlying health conditions are offered an alternative to the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, if available and if it does not cause delays in having the vaccine.”

– How many people have been affected?

Up to April 28, the MHRA had received 242 reports of blood clots accompanied by low blood platelet count in the UK, all in people who had had the AstraZeneca jab, out of around 28.5 million doses given.

These clots occurred in 141 women and 100 men aged from 18 to 93, and the overall case death rate was 20%, with 49 deaths.

Six cases have been reported after a second dose of the vaccine.

A particular type of brain blood clot – cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) – was reported in 93 cases (with an average age of 47), and 149 had other major thromboembolic events (average age 55) accompanied by low blood platelet count.

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The MHRA said the overall incidence of blood clots with low platelets after a first dose is put at 10.5 per million doses, and about one in a million for a second dose.

For those aged 40 to 49 the incidence is 10.1 per million doses, and 17.4 per million for those aged 30 to 39.

Overall, the death rate per million doses is 2.1, but is 4.5 for those aged 30 to 39.

– What about those who are waiting for their second dose of the AstraZeneca jab?

Health experts have said those who have had a first dose of AstraZeneca and not suffered a clot should have a second dose of the same jab, irrespective of their age.

The MHRA said that, as a precautionary measure, anyone who has a severe headache which is not relieved with painkillers or is getting worse, should seek prompt medical attention at any point from around four days to four weeks after vaccination.

Other side-effects that may need medical attention include a headache that feels worse when a person lies down or bends over, a headache that is unusual and occurs with blurred vision, feeling or being sick, problems speaking, weakness, drowsiness or seizures, a rash that looks like small bruises or bleeding under the skin, and shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling or persistent abdominal pain.

-What other vaccines are available?

Apart from AstraZeneca, the UK is also using two other vaccines – Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.

The UK has an in-principle agreement for 60 million doses of the Valneva jab, with an option to acquire a further 130 million doses from 2022-2025.

The country has also ordered 30 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson, which has been shown to be 66% effective in preventing coronavirus infection.

Both the Valneva and Johnson & Johnson jabs will need regulatory approval for use in the UK, once data from later-stage trials become available.

Judges urged not to jail ex-diplomat over Salmond trial blog

Craig Murray, a former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, was found guilty of contempt of court.

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Legal: Craig Murray, a former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, was found guilty of contempt of court.

Judges have been urged not to jail a former diplomat who was found to be in contempt of court after covering the Alex Salmond trial on his blog.

Craig Murray, a former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, attended two days of Salmond’s trial in March 2020, sitting in the public gallery, and wrote about it on his website.

The former first minister was cleared at the High Court in Edinburgh of 13 sexual assault charges involving nine women following his trial.

Following previous hearings, judges on March 25 this year found that Murray was in contempt of court, relating to material capable of identifying four complainers.

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At a virtual hearing of the High Court in Edinburgh on Friday, Roddy Dunlop QC, representing Murray, said there is little indication of any actual identification having happened as a result of the articles, and said there was nothing amounting to actual interference in the case such as the trial having to be adjourned.

He said: “The simple fact is that some complainers seem to have been identified as a result of comments made in publications made by other entities with greater reach, and in so far as there is any instance of identification being made as a result of what Mr Murray did, it is limited.

“There are tweets that follow on what Mr Murray did, whether or not they amount to people just weighing in with their own identification as opposed to actually having completed the jigsaw we do not know and one cannot know, but my point is there is little indication of any actual identification having happened as a result of this.”

He said the posts were redacted when the contempt proceedings were launched to “neutralise” the problems.

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The Lord Justice Clerk Lady Dorrian, who was hearing the case along with Lord Menzies and Lord Turnbull, said: “The reality remains that for complainers in other cases, the fact that this has happened in such a high profile sexual offences case can only be detrimental.”

In his mitigation submission, Mr Dunlop said Murray is a man of “impeccable character” and previously “untarnished reputation”, and said it is no exaggeration to say the retired diplomat is already suffering “significant punishment” from the impact of the case.

Mr Dunlop said sending Murray to prison would be “harsh to the point of being disproportionate”, and he urged the judges to deal with the matter by way of a fine.

He said: “Allowing that the finding of contempt has been ruled by this court to be justified the question is whether, given all the circumstances, that justification extends yet further to countenancing imprisonment, to taking a retired diplomat with an exemplary background away from his wife, his 11-year-old son, and his baby.

“For what purpose? The response might will be “pour decourager les autres” (to discourage others). If that is the purpose, job done.

“Mr Murray’s blogging is inevitably hamstrung by the ruling itself, the decision is and has been widely publicised.

“If anyone out there thinks that playing with fire in the field of jigsaw identification is a zero-sum game, their views have been disabused by the ruling this court has already made.”

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The judges will give their sentencing decision on Tuesday.


Under 40s to be offered alternative to AstraZeneca vaccine

Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation says balance of benefit and risk is more finely balanced for younger groups.

Javier Zayas Photography via Getty Images
Under 40s will be offered alternative to Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

Under-40s are to be offered an alternative to the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said there is an “extremely small risk” of people suffering blood clots after having the jab, but the risk of serious illness with Covid-19 also drops for younger people as infection rates fall across the country.

While the balance of benefit and risk for the AstraZeneca vaccine is very favourable for older people, it is more finely balanced for younger groups, who do not tend to suffer serious coronavirus illness.

Experts have also assessed the risks from any third wave of Covid in the UK and concluded that that wave is likely to be smaller than previously anticipated.

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It came as an expert source said they anticipate approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the UK shortly.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is currently appraising the jab and the review is said to be at an advanced stage.

Regarding AstraZeneca, the JCVI has advised that another vaccine should be offered to under-40s without underlying health conditions where an alternative is available, and as long as it does not cause any substantial delays to the vaccination programme.

Urging people to accept vaccines, it has warned that reductions in uptake or speed of jab deployment will increase the size of any third wave of infection in the UK.

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For this reason, it believes any vaccine would be better than no vaccine, even for those under the age of 40.

However, there are thought to be no supply issues with offering the vast majority of younger people alternatives to AstraZeneca.

Professor Wei Shen Lim, Covid-19 chairman for JCVI, said: “Safety remains our number one priority.

“We have continued to assess the benefit/risk balance of Covid-19 vaccines in light of UK infection rates and the latest information from the MHRA on the extremely rare event of blood clots and low platelet counts following vaccination.

“As Covid-19 rates continue to come under control, we are advising that adults aged 18 to 39 years with no underlying health conditions are offered an alternative to the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, if available and if it does not cause delays in having the vaccine.

“The advice is specific to circumstances in the UK at this time and maximises use of the wide portfolio of vaccines available.

“The Covid-19 vaccines have already saved thousands of lives and the benefit for the majority of the population is clear – if you are offered the vaccine, you should take it.”

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Up to April 28, the MHRA had received 242 reports of blood clots accompanied by low blood platelet count in the UK, all in people who had the AstraZeneca vaccine, out of around 28.5 million doses given.

These clots occurred in 141 women and 100 men aged from 18 to 93, with 49 deaths. Six cases have been reported after a second dose.

A particular type of brain blood clot – cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) – was reported in 93 cases (with an average age of 47), and 149 had other major thromboembolic events (average age 55) accompanied by low blood platelet count.

The overall incidence of blood clots with low platelets after a first dose is put at 10.5 per million doses, and about one in a million for a second dose.

For those aged 40 to 49 the incidence is 10.1 per million doses, and 17.4 per million for those aged 30 to 39.

Overall, the death rate per million doses is 2.1, but is 4.5 for those aged 30 to 39.

MHRA chief executive Dr June Raine said: “Public safety is always at the forefront of our minds and we take every report seriously.

“Our position remains that the benefits of the Covid-19 vaccine AstraZeneca against Covid-19, with its associated risk of hospitalisation and death, continues to outweigh the risks for the vast majority of people.

“The balance of benefits and risks is very favourable for older people but is more finely balanced for younger people and we advise that this evolving evidence should be taken into account when considering the use of the vaccine, as JVCI has done.”

According to Public Health England (PHE), the vaccine programme is estimated to have prevented more than 10,000 deaths in England alone by the end of March.

Health experts are urging everyone who has had a first dose of AstraZeneca and not suffered a clot to have a second dose of the same jab, irrespective of their age.

The MHRA said that, as a precautionary measure, anyone who has a severe headache which is not relieved with painkillers or is getting worse, should seek prompt medical attention at any point from around four days to four weeks after vaccination.

The same goes for a headache that feels worse when a person lies down or bends over, a headache that is unusual and occurs with blurred vision, feeling or being sick, problems speaking, weakness, drowsiness or seizures, a rash that looks like small bruises or bleeding under the skin, and shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling or persistent abdominal pain.

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