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Dublin says limiting use of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 jab will have ‘minimal impact’ on vaccine rollout

Dublin says limiting use of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 jab will have ‘minimal impact’ on vaccine rollout
Irish health officials have dismissed claims that the new restrictions limiting the use of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to those aged 60 and over will have a considerable impact on the country’s vaccine rollout.

Speaking on Tuesday at a parliamentary briefing, Irish Deputy Chief Medical Officer Ronan Glynn said there were “more reasons to be hopeful than ever” as Ireland begins to lift its lockdown restrictions nationwide. Glynn also looked to address concerns that new age limits on AstraZeneca’s jab would hinder vaccine rollout. 

“I would hope that, on the basis of last night’s recommendations, the impact on the overall rollout at the population level should be fairly minimal when you look to where we would be now by the end of May, the end of June,” Glynn told lawmakers.

Speaking earlier on Tuesday to the Irish Times, Denis McCauley, chairman of the GP Committee of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO), said it would be “naïve” to assume there will be no impact. “The more talk there is about the risks of any vaccine the more people will say: ‘Well, I’m not having that one.’ That is just standard,” he said. 

On Monday evening, Ireland’s National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) said the Anglo-Swedish vaccine should only be administered to those over the age of 60 amid fears of very rare blood clots, following similar moves made in other countries after the latest safety reviews by EU and UK drug regulators.

“A high uptake of vaccine in every age group is needed if Covid-19 is to be controlled, so that public health restrictions may be safely removed,” the body said, defending its decision to act with caution. 

Also on rt.com Ireland’s vaccine advisory body recommends halting use of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine in under-60s over blood clot risk

As of April 10, 1,058,394 doses of Covid-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca have been administered in Ireland.

The country was also due to start receiving doses of the recently approved Johnson & Johnson offering soon, but the company said on Tuesday it would “proactively delay” its European rollout as the risk of “extremely rare” blood clots reported among some recipients of its vaccine is investigated.

There had previously been talk that the UK could share its excess doses with Ireland, some – if not all – of which could have been British-made AstraZeneca jabs. Arlene Foster, first minister of neighboring Northern Ireland, labelled the plan “a runner,” after the Sunday Times claimed the proposal could allow Covid-19 restrictions in the region to be removed more quickly. However, the suggestion was dismissed shortly afterwards by a spokesman for UK PM Boris Johnson.

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