AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine: Brevity achieves national media coverage for drug safety experts

Written by Kaia Vincent
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The COVID-19 pandemic continues to dominate the news agenda and vaccine safety is being widely discussed in the media.

A top story this week is the confirmation by both the UK and European medicines regulators that there is a possibility of very rare cases of blood clots occurring (combined with low levels of blood platelets) within two weeks of vaccination with the AstraZeneca jab.

Brevity client is key player in post-vaccine safety study

Our client, The Drug Safety Research Unit (DSRU) is conducting post-authorisation safety surveillance studies on the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine in the UK, making them an important voice on this major news topic.

Established in 1981, the Drug Safety Research Unit (DSRU) is an independent organisation which monitors, studies and communicates the safety and risk management of medicines and vaccines, including the annual flu vaccine since 2014.

Following evaluation of all publicly available data on blood clotting incidents after immunisation with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, the DSRU concluded there is evidence consistent with a causal link between the vaccine and rare blood clots in women aged under 55.

Adding clarity and context to the debate in The Guardian

Speaking to The Guardian, Professor Saad Shakir, Director of the DSRU, said evidence of links between the vaccine and the rare blood clots “is consistent with causality” but added that the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe and effective: “It has protected millions of people from Covid-19 and will continue to do so around the world,” he said.

The DSRU stresses that blood clots as a result of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine are rare. In the UK, as of the end of March, 79 events had occurred resulting in 19 deaths, from more than 18million doses of vaccine.

UK medicines regulator, the MHRA, says the benefits of the vaccine still outweigh the risks for the vast majority of people. As a safety precaution, the under-30s will now be offered alternative vaccines.

Getting the voices of experts heard

Not only was the DSRU quoted in both the print and online editions of The Guardian on more than one occasion in relation to this story, Brevity’s PR team also achieved coverage and broadcasts on the following sites and channels:

Brevity has been working with the DSRU since 2017, securing media coverage in national outlets, such as the Daily Mail as well as key medical and pharmaceutical publications, such as The British Medical Journal, Pink Sheet and the PharmaTimes.

Never in the history of the DSRU has its role been so important to society. Brevity is proud to support them with PR and marketing as they continue their vital work as the leading pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacovigilance unit in the UK.

Share your knowledge and spread your message. Increase your organisation’s visibility in national, local and industry media. To talk to us about proactive and reactive PR and media relations, call Brevity on 01256 536 000 or email