Ireland limits the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to those aged 60 and older, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ronan Glynn announced.
The restriction follows a recommendation from the National Immunization Advisory Committee (NIAC), citing concerns over blood clot reports.
During a meeting on April 12, NIAC recommended that the vaccine should not be administered to those aged below 60, including those with medical conditions with very high or high risk of severe COVID-19 disease.
NIAC said that it has revised the recommendations for the use of the vaccine as “the benefits versus the risks of this vaccine may vary by age and as alternative COVID-19 vaccines are available in Ireland.”
The recommendation also follows a recent investigation by the European Medicines Agency on rare blood clotting cases as side effects to receiving the vaccine.
“While this is an extremely rare condition, consideration must be given to the fact that it has a very high risk of death or severe outcome,” NIAC Chair Professor Karina Butler said in a statement.
Glynn said that the restriction will “not necessarily” have a “material impact or delay on the roll-out of the vaccination program,” according to broadcaster RTE.
The Irish Health Service Executive (HSE) has cancelled all AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccination clinics planned for April 13, following the restriction.
HSE said it will be in contact with patients to rearranged their vaccination appointments.
“Following full consideration of the updated guidance, the HSE will advise further in terms of wider implications for the administration of the vaccination program,” HSE said in a statement.
Glynn also said that he hoped the recommendation would not have an impact on the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.
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