Ireland Temporarily Suspends Use of AstraZeneca Vaccine After 'Serious Blood Clotting Events'

Ireland’s National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) has recommended that use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is temporarily suspended after Norwegian regulators reported “serious blood clotting events”.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said that “following a report from the Norwegian Medicines Agency of four new reports of serious blood clotting events in adults after vaccination with Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca”, which involved younger people in their thirties and forties, it would be suspended use of the low-cost vaccine “pending receipt of further information”.

The NIAC stressed that “It has not been concluded that there is any link between the COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca and these cases” but that it was “acting on the precautionary principle”.

Dr Glynn told the Irish media that he hopes to “get more reassuring data” from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in the coming days or weeks, at which point “we can we can recommence the programme”.

Northern Ireland, which is one of the United Kingdom’s constituent Home Nations, will not be suspended use of the vaccine, although Public Health Agency in the Province says it will “closely monitor” the situation.

British regulator the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) says it is also “closely reviewing reports”, according to the BBC, but insists that “given the large number of doses administered, and the frequency at which blood clots can occur naturally, the evidence available does not suggest the vaccine is the cause.”

Professor Adam Finn, a member of the United Kingdom’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), appeared to gently criticise the cautious approach to vaccination in Ireland, saying it is “highly undesirable to disrupt a complex and urgent programme every time people develop illnesses after receiving vaccine that may be coincidental and not causally related.”

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