Coronavirus: Ireland suspends use of AstraZeneca vaccine

Ireland’s National Immunization Advisory Committee recommended suspending use of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine Sunday, as a precaution after reports of blood clotting in Norway.

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“It has not been concluded that there is any link between the COVID-19 vaccine (from) AstraZeneca and these cases,” said Dr. Ronan Glynn, Ireland’s deputy chief medical officer. “However, acting on the precautionary principle, and pending receipt of further information, the National Immunization Advisory Committee has recommended the temporary deferral of the COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca vaccination program in Ireland.”

Last week, Denmark and Norway suspended use of the vaccine after reports of three health care workers developing blood clots after inoculation, Reuters reported. Health officials said cases of “thromboembolic events” are not higher than those in the general population.

“There is currently no indication that vaccination has caused these conditions, which are not listed as side effects with this vaccine,” the European Medicines Agency said, the BBC reported. “The vaccine’s benefits continue to outweigh its risks.”

There have been about 110,000 doses of the vaccine administered in Ireland, the BBC reported. More than 5 million Europeans have been vaccinated. More than 11 million doses have been given in the U.K.

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The drugmaker said there were no observed trends or patterns that indicated increased risk in clinical trials, nor among the millions of vaccine doses that have been administered, Irish media outlet RTÉ reported.

The drug was deemed safe and effective in clinical trials and has been approved for use in more than 50 countries. Negative reactions in trials did not occur frequently or long-lasting and blood clotting was not reported.

“In fact, the reported numbers of these types of events for COVID-19 vaccine (from) AstraZeneca are not greater than the number that would have occurred naturally in the unvaccinated population,” a spokesperson for the company said. “A careful review of all available safety data including these events is ongoing and AstraZeneca is committed to sharing information without delay.”