The HSE has cancelled all AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccination clinics scheduled for today following a recommendation by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee.
Last week, the European Medicine Agency (EMA) announced that they had concluded an investigation into a number of very rare, unusual blood clots occurring with low platelets in people following vaccination with AstraZeneca.
The EMA’s safety committee (PRAC) concluded that unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as very rare side effects of AstraZeneca but that the benefits of this vaccine continue to outweigh the risks.
Dr Ronan Glynn said: “All of those aged 60 years and older can get any authorised COVID-19 vaccine, including Vaxzevria/AstraZeneca.
“Vaxzevria/AstraZeneca is not recommended for those aged under 60 years including those with medical conditions with very high or high risk of severe COVID-19 disease.
“For people who have already received Vaxzevria/AstraZeneca:
Those aged 60 years and older should continue to receive their second dose 12 weeks later as scheduled,
“Those aged under 60 years with an underlying condition (those identified in cohort 4 and cohort 7) should continue to receive their second dose 12 weeks later as scheduled.
“Those aged under 60 years with no underlying condition (therefore not identified in cohort 4 and cohort 7) should have the scheduled interval between their first and second doses extended to 16 weeks to allow for further assessment of the benefits and risks as more evidence becomes available.
“Those who have developed unusual blood clots with low platelets after the first dose of Vaxzevria/AstraZeneca should not be given a second dose.”
As of April 7, the Health Products Regulatory Authority has been notified of approximately 2,800 reports of suspected side effects associated with Vaxzevria/AstraZeneca, in the context of 204,270 doses administered.
The HPRA confirms it has received notice of a case of special interest and is continuing to follow up on this to see if it fits the profile of the very rare blood clots which were the subject of the EMA review.
An additional small number of cases describing low platelet counts have been received and follow up is ongoing to rule out the presence of blood clots.