Nphet to discuss use of AstraZeneca vaccine in Ireland 

European medical officials have found a possible link between the vaccine and rare blood clots, but the European Medicines Agency said the benefits from the vaccine far outweigh these risks
Nphet to discuss use of AstraZeneca vaccine in Ireland 

Nphet is meeting today to discuss the Covid-19 situation in Ireland. Picture: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) will discuss a link between very rare blood clotting and the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine when it meets later.

Health officials have advised that the AstraZeneca vaccine should continue to be administered in Ireland.

European medical officials have found a possible link between the vaccine and rare blood clots — but the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said the benefits from the vaccine far outweigh these risks.

The European drug regulator said that rare blood clotting should be listed as a "very rare" side effect of the vaccine.

A vial of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. The vaccine's use was reviewed by the EMA. 

A vial of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. The vaccine's use was reviewed by the EMA. 

The EMA received reports of 18 deaths from 169 cases of CVST and 53 of splanchnic vein thrombosis. About 34m people received AstraZeneca in the EEA and UK.

Chair of the EMA’s Safety Committee (PRAC) Dr Sabine Straus, said the reporting rate is one case per 100,000 in Europe and one per 600,000 in the UK.

The review, she said showed “a strong association” with the vaccine.

“We know the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been established,” she said. 

It prevents hospitalisations and prevents mortality. So overall, the benefits outweigh the risks. 

EMA executive director Emer Cooke said: “The evidence of the available instances that we have did not allow us to draw any causal link to gender or age groups.

“I cannot comment on the decision-making in the UK, but there is a lot more use in younger age groups. We will certainly take this into account in our further evaluation.”

The National Immunisation Advistory Committee (NIAC) met last night to discuss those findings and will issue its report to the deputy chief medical officer shortly. 

In the meantime, the same stance applies and the vaccine should continue to be administered, it said.

The Health Products Regulation Authority (HPRA) last night confirmed it had been notified of approximately 2,800 reports of suspected side effects associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine. 

Dr Anne Moore said the review indicates the risk of getting this blood clot is many times smaller than the risk of catching Covid-19 in Ireland.

Dr Anne Moore said the review indicates the risk of getting this blood clot is many times smaller than the risk of catching Covid-19 in Ireland.

The HPRA said that of 204,270 Astrazeneca doses administered here, there were 18 reports describing "blood clots or events possibly associated with blood clots".

However, an HPRA review has confirmed that none of the clots reported are of the nature of the very rare blood clots of concern.

Virologist Dr Anne Moore told the Irish Examiner the review indicates the risk of getting this blood clot is many times smaller than the risk of catching Covid-19 in Ireland.

“I would anticipate over time we will better understand who is more at risk. If we can be particularly vigilant of these cohorts then we should be able to mitigate the risk even further,” the University College Cork lecturer said. 

The UK are to offer alternative vaccines to under 30s due to the risk, while its use is suspended in Norway and Denmark.

Nphet yesterday confirmed 423 Covid-19 cases and five deaths, there were 56 people in ICU, down from 60. 

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