AstraZeneca jab rollout to resume in Ireland

Rebecca Black and Michelle Devane, PA
·3-min read

The resumption of the rollout of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine has been recommended in Ireland.

Deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said he came to his decision following assessments of the jab by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and Ireland’s National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac).

Dr Glynn said Ireland’s Health Minister Stephen Donnelly had accepted his recommendation.

He told a press conference on Friday evening that the Health Service Executive was meeting as he was speaking about resuming the use of AstraZeneca in Ireland.

Dr Glynn said more than 117,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine had been administered in Ireland before the pause last Sunday due to concerns raised over clotting.

He said to date there had been no reports of serious clotting events associated with low platelets received by the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) in Ireland.

“People should be reassured that we acted quickly. We saw a signal, we acted upon it, counterparts across the EU acted upon it. They undertook an urgent investigation. They have looked at all the data and they have concluded it is safe to recommence the programme,” he said.

“I would urge anyone now who is offered the vaccine to take it.

“We know that it is an extremely effective vaccine. We have seen the phenomenal effects that it is having on caseloads in other jurisdictions and we’re lucky to have it as part of a range of vaccines that are now available to us.”

Earlier, Taoiseach Micheal Martin said he would have no issue taking the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine if he was offered it.

He also said the Government was “gearing up” to resume administering the jab after its use was temporarily suspended in Ireland “in an abundance of caution” over the raising of concerns around blood clots.

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Mr Martin was speaking at the Port of Cork on Friday as he announced 405 million euros of funding for regeneration projects in Cork city and county.

Asked whether he would take the AstraZeneca vaccine, Mr Martin said: “Yes I would. I would indeed.

“I expect a decision will be made today in relation to that. We’re gearing up in terms of resuming that.”

Dr Glynn said on Thursday that he welcomed the EMA making its position clear and that the Niac was meeting with counterparts across Europe following the EMA’s statement.

Dr Glynn also indicated on Thursday that tough restrictions could remain in place until June.

Speaking on Friday, the Taoiseach said he would not speculate about changes to the public health restrictions for April and that the Government would inform the public in the next couple of weeks of any changes to the measures.

“I am not going to speculate but we will give people clear indications in advance of April 5 as to how we see April panning out,” Mr Martin said.

“I don’t believe in speculating beyond that and we will certainly make it very clear to people.

“We are thinking and reflecting on the outdoor situation and outdoor activities and what might be possible there because mental health is very important.”

He added: “We do understand and get it that people are fed up.

“I want to thank people; I think people have been remarkable. We have brought numbers down from a very high level after Christmas to very, relatively low levels. They’re still high.

“Our big concern is the variant. This variant is more transmissible.”

The deaths of a further 10 people with Covid-19 and another 507 cases were announced on Friday.

As of 8am, there were 336 Covid-positive patients in hospital, of whom 87 were in ICU.

As of March 16, 632,359 doses of the vaccine had been administered in Ireland.