NI Covid vaccine programme will not be suspended, says DoH – Belfast Live

Northern Ireland’s Covid-19 vaccine programme will not be suspended, the Department of Health has said today.

A number of countries have temporarily stopped the AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine as a precautionary measure following reports of blood clots in some patients.

And Ireland announced their temporary halt on the vaccine roll out on Sunday.

However Northern Ireland will continue with its ongoing programme, and indeed there are plans to expand it imminently.

Questions over the deployment of the AstraZeneca vaccine came about after four new reports of blood clotting incidents in patients who had had the jab in Norway.

Ireland’s deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said: “A report from the Norwegian Medicines Agency [states there have been] 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.”

In Northern Ireland Covid-19 vaccines are administered under the direction of the MHRA, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

Health Minister Robin Swann
(Image: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye)

They are the UK’s regulatory body for medicines and approve vaccines for public use when it is satisfied on grounds of safety and effectiveness.

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Last Thursday, the MHRA advised the public to continue getting their Covid-19 vaccines after some countries temporarily suspended the AstraZeneca vaccine as a precautionary measure.

On Sunday Health Minister Robin Swann and the Department of Health sought an update from the MHRA in light of the temporary AstraZeneca halt announced by the Republic of Ireland.

The MHRA has today advised: “We are aware of the action in Ireland. We are closely reviewing reports but 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.”

Health Minister Swann continues to work in line with MHRA guidance and said the roll-out of Northern Ireland’s vaccination programme will continue. A further expansion of this programme will be announced very shortly.