The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) yesterday recommended that the administration of the vaccine be deferred on a temporary and precautionary basis, pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation underway at EU level into a small number of reports of thromboembolic or blood-clotting events.
Following a new safety alert from the Norwegian Medicines Agency, received on March 13, NIAC met with the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) and HSE representatives to consider the new information.
It concerns four new reports of serious rare clotting events in four adults aged under 65 who had received the vaccine.
To date, no reports of similar events have been received by the HPRA. However, it has received a small number of reports associated with blood clots following vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Dr Nuala O’Connor of Elmwood Medical Practice in Frankfield, who is also the Covid-19 lead for the Irish College of General Practitioners, said the ICGP and IMO support the decision by NIAC to temporarily defer administration of the vaccine and that it is important for confidence in any vaccination programme that safety signals are taken seriously and that time is given to experts to review evidence that has emerged.
Dr Elizabeth Brint, an immunologist at University College Cork (UCC), echoed Dr O’Connor’s comments and said: “Nobody should panic and nobody should be remotely anxious.”