A number of 49-year-olds who turned up at Croke Park for Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) Covid-19 vaccine appointments on Saturday were turned away due to being under the age of 50, the HSE has confirmed.
A spokeswoman told The Irish Times that the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) guidelines stipulate these vaccines are “not recommended for this age group [under 50] at present”.
“When this error was identified we immediately made every effort to contact those affected by phone and text to advise them not to attend their appointment today… We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused,” she added.
Niac issued new advice for the Janssen and AstraZeneca vaccines last Monday, clearing the way in principle for their use among people aged 40 to 49, so long as they give clear consent.
These vaccines were to be offered if no mRNA jabs were available and people were permitted to reject the vaccines and wait for an mRNA shot if preferred. Previously the Committee had advised these vaccines would be used only in people aged 50 and over.
Cabra resident Ultan Monahan said he arrived at the north Dublin mass vaccination centre on Saturday morning excited to receive the Janssen jab but was informed at the door that there had been a “clerical error”.
Mr Monahan had received a text message on Wednesday confirming his appointment for the Janssen vaccine on Saturday.
“I was really looking forward to getting the Johnson & Johnson because it was just one shot,” he told The Irish Times.
Mr Monahan said he had been “hopping around the place” with anticipation of receiving the one-shot vaccine. “I had my Galway jersey on as I always do when I go to Croker,” he said, adding he is still keen to get “any shot at all after a long 14 months”.