Irish health official recommends temporary suspension of use of AstraZeneca vaccine
The National Immunization Advisory Committee of Ireland (NIAC) has recommended that the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine be temporarily suspended in the country starting from Sunday morning, said a senior Irish public health official, Trend reports citing Xinhua.
Ronan Glynn, deputy chief medical officer of the Irish Department of Health, said in a statement issued earlier in the day that the recommendation has been made following a Saturday evening report from the Norwegian Medicines Agency about four new blood clotting events in Norway after the vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The COVID-19 vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, has been suspended in a number of countries across Europe and Asia, including Norway and Denmark, following reports of blood clots in some vaccinated people.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday that the Geneva-based UN health agency "systematically reviews safety signals, and is carefully assessing the current reports on the AstraZeneca vaccine."
Glynn said the NIAC also discussed with the Health Products Regulatory Authority before making the recommendation.
"It has not been concluded that there is any link between the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca and these cases," he said, adding that the recommendation was made as a precautionary measure, pending further information.
NIAC is due to meet again on Sunday morning and a further statement will follow thereafter, according to Glynn.
NIAC is an independent expert group that provides advice to the Irish Department of Health on vaccines, immunization and related health matters to inform health policies in Ireland.
So far over 110,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered in Ireland, accounting for about 20 percent of all the doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered in the country, according to a Sunday report by RTE, Ireland's national radio and television broadcaster.
Apart from the AstraZeneca vaccine, Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are also being used in Ireland with Johnson & Johnson's vaccine to be used here soon.
As of March 10, a total of 570,391 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines had been administered in Ireland, according to the latest available figures from the Irish Department of Health.
As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in an increasing number of countries with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines.
Meanwhile, 263 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide -- 81 of them in clinical trials -- in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain, and the United States, according to information released by WHO on March 12.