The rollout of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine has been “temporarily deferred” in the Republic of Ireland following a recommendation by Irish health officials after reports of blood clotting elsewhere in Europe.
In an email to The Independent, a spokesperson for the Irish Department of Health said administration of the AstraZeneca jab had been “temporarily deferred” from Sunday morning.
Commenting on the conclusion of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee that the rollout be paused, Ireland’s deputy chief medical officer, Dr Ronan Glynn, said: “This recommendation has been made 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.
“It has not been concluded that there is any link between the Covid-19 vaccine AstraZeneca and these cases.
“However, acting on the precautionary principle, and pending receipt of further information, the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) has recommended the temporary deferral of the Covid-19 vaccine AstraZeneca vaccination programme in Ireland.”
The NIAC is due to meet again on Sunday morning and a further statement will follow, Dr Glynn said.
A spokesperson for AstraZeneca said: “An analysis of our safety data that covers reported cases from more than 17 million doses of vaccine administered has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis or thrombocytopenia with Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca.
“In fact, the reported numbers of these types of events for Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca are not greater than the number that would have occurred naturally in the unvaccinated population.
“In clinical trials, no trends or patterns were observed with regard to pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, or events possibly related to thrombocytopenia.
“A careful review of all available safety data including these events is ongoing and AstraZeneca is committed to sharing information without delay.”
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The recommendation comes after Irish authorities had been pressing the pharmaceutical firm to speed up its supplies to the Republic.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) reported one person in Austria was diagnosed with blood clots and died 10 days after vaccination, but it stressed there is “currently no indication that vaccination has caused these conditions”.
Italy has followed Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Luxembourg and Lithuania in banning jabs from one particular batch of one million AstraZeneca vaccines, which was sent to 17 countries, after reports of a death.
Another person was admitted to hospital in Austria with pulmonary embolism (blockage in arteries in the lungs) after being vaccinated, while one death involving a blood clot was reported in Denmark.
A 50-year-old man is also thought to have died in Italy from deep vein thrombosis (DVT), while there has been an unconfirmed report of another death in Italy.
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