Watch: Jonathan Van-Tam reads out paracetamol side effects to demonstrate COVID vaccine safety
From football matches to trains, Jonathan Van-Tam has become well-known for explaining coronavirus through simple, everyday analogies on live TV.
And England’s deputy chief medical officer employed a similar tactic on Wednesday – as he used a paracetamol packet to explain why people shouldn’t worry about the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
It comes amid an ongoing fallout after a number of European countries paused the rollout of the jab following a small number of people reporting blood clots after receiving it.
The EU’s regulator, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), is conducting a review but has insisted it remains safe.
At Wednesday’s Downing Street press conference, Prof Van-Tam also pointed out there was no evidence of increased risk of blood clots with the AstraZeneca jab.
He said: “All medicines have side effects and all medicines have benefits. That’s the whole point, that you have to look at both sides and say: ‘How big are the benefits in relation to the risks?’”
To illustrate his point, he picked up a data sheet from a packet of paracetamol.
Reading from the sheet, he said: “The rare side effects are allergic reactions such as skin rash, mouth sores, fever, difficulty breathing, [being] more prone to bleeding, bruising, fever, infections, nausea, sudden weight loss, loss of appetite, jaundice, yellowing of the eyes and skin.
“Those are documented rare side effects of paracetamol,” he said, "but we all understand the benefits of them and this is no different a situation.
“There’s no proven association with the blood clots and we have very clear evidence that these vaccines are beneficial and save lives from what is otherwise, for some people… a potentially lethal disease.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Boris Johnson announced he is due to have his COVID-19 vaccine shortly – and that it will “be Oxford/AstraZeneca”.
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