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People under the age of 60 should be cautious while taking AstraZeneca vaccine; Department of Health issues new advice

DUBLIN: Uncertainty remains over the safety of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, which poses a safety threat linked to blood clots.

Dr. Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, has confirmed that the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines, which have been discontinued, will not be administered today. Vaccination has been halted following the National Immunisation Advisory Committee’s (NIAC) advice that the jab be limited to people over the age of 60.

Last week, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and AstraZeneca issued a warning confirming the link between rare blood clotting. The EMA also noted that blood clots were identified in young people, especially women.

The NIAC also recommended that those developed blood clots with low platelets after receiving the first dose should not receive a second dose.

The Department of Health said the HSE required two more days to provide an update on the vaccine roll-out. Dr. Glynn said the current decision is that the AstraZeneca vaccine should not be given to anyone, even to those over the age of 60, on Tuesday.

Dr. Glynn said the NIAC decision was made with caution and that HSE would examine how vaccines could be safely re-administered.

The department also issued advice to those who have already received a single dose of the vaccine.

● People aged 60 years and older should take their second dose 12 weeks later as scheduled

● People under the age of 60 who have an underlying condition (those identified in cohort 4 and 7) should continue to take the second dose after 12 weeks as scheduled

● For those under the age of 60 and not with an underlying condition, the scheduled interval between the second dose should be 16 weeks

● Do not give the second dose to anyone who developed blood clots after receiving the first dose of AstraZeneca

At the same time, AstraZeneca vaccine manufacturers have repeatedly stated that the vaccine provides a high level of protection against COVID-19. However, amid the uncertainty, the public is getting extremely skeptical of AstraZeneca. Many experts remind the government that people of all ages should be vaccinated only after their health has been guaranteed.

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