Spacing out Covid vaccine doses possible, says health expert

Prof Moynagh said when more people were vaccinated it meant that the virus could be suppressed and the quicker society could get back to normality.
Spacing out Covid vaccine doses possible, says health expert

A policy proposal to examine the benefits of changing the order of cohorts to vaccinate younger people first was examined by health officials. Picture: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Immunologist Professor Paul Moynagh has said that it was possible the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines had the same properties as the AstraZeneca vaccine and therefore could be effective after an extended space between doses.

This week a decision is expected on whether government policy will see Covid vaccine doses spaced out further in order to immunise more people against the virus

Vaccinating as many people as possible was a good move, said Professor Moynagh and added it was unimaginable to consider that vaccines would not be used because of rare clotting events.

The benefits and risks had to be weighed in these instances said the health expert. 

He said an abundance of caution could be misapplied, especially in a situation where the data was not being followed.

Prof Moynagh said when more people were vaccinated it meant that the virus could be suppressed and the quicker society could get back to normality.

The Professor of Immunology and Director of the Kathleen Lonsdale Institute for Human Health research at Maynooth University
suggested that vaccinating young people ahead of older age groups “makes a lot of sense” scientifically, but that from a political perspective it could have been handled in a more discrete manner.

The health expert's comments follow reports Health Minister Stephen Donnelly had asked health officials to examine the benefits of vaccinating people between the ages of 18 and 30 once all those over 60 are vaccinated.

Mr Donnelly admitted that he had put forward the idea of prioritising younger people and had asked for a review, but this had been dismissed by deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn.

Asked directly yesterday if this was still the plan, Mr Donnelly said: "The short answer is no."

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