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Distribution of AstraZeneca vaccine has been suspended in Ireland; Health Minister says precautionary measures

DUBLIN: As a precautionary measure, the administration of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine was discontinued in Ireland due to concerns about blood clots. There were reports of blood clots from Norway.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said the new decision was made on the recommendation of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC).

In Norway, blood clots were found in only a few people who had been vaccinated. Mr Donnelly said in a tweet that this was a precautionary measure.

To date, more than 110,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered in Ireland. This is about 20% of the doses given so far.

More information on the dangers of this European Medicines Agency’s vaccine is being reviewed. Deputy Chief medical officer Dr. Ronan Glynn said he expects only a one-week suspension of vaccine use. However, Dr. Gynn said he still has full confidence in the vaccine program.

Four people, including three health workers who received the AstraZeneca vaccine, are being treated at a hospital for bleeding, blood clots and low blood platelets, Norwegian health officials said. All three individuals are under 50 years of age.

Norway stopped using the AstraZeneca vaccine on Thursday following a similar move by Denmark.

“We do not know if the cases are linked to the vaccine,” Sigurd Hortemo, a senior doctor at the Norwegian Medicines Agency told a news conference held jointly with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

Mr. Hortemo said the European medicine regulator, the European Medicines Agency (EMA,) would investigate the three incidents.

“They have very unusual symptoms: bleeding, blood clots and a low count of blood platelets,” Steinar Madsen, Medical Director at the Norwegian Medicines Agency told broadcaster NRK.

 “They are quite sick…We take this very seriously,” he said/

At the same time, it is believed that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh its risks and may continue to be administered.

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