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Stephen Donnelly Hopeful Despite AstraZeneca Vaccine Suspension

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Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly has said that the 30,000 people who had their vaccine appointments cancelled this week should get their jab next month, once the AstraZeneca issues are analysed.

This comes after the AstraZeneca vaccine was suspended in Ireland following blood clot concerns. A decision described by Dr Luke O’Neill as “disturbing”. 

Stephen Donnelly said that those affected by the suspension of AstraZeneca will be rescheduled for next month. He also said that this will happen without anyone else being delayed.

Donnelly also said last week that 99% of people aged over 85 were fully vaccinated. You can read more about that here.

Quick and positive response once vaccine is analysed – Donnelly

Donnelly said that the government is expecting a quick and positive response from the European Medics Agency as the safety of the vaccine is analysed.

“If the EMA comes back, as we hope they will, with a very positive report later in the week. Then it will be a very short period to reschedule”, the Health Minister said.

Donnelly continued, “What we’ve done is build a vaccine system with the capacity to administer more vaccines than we have in, so hopefully the 30,000 for this week will be rescheduled very quickly. Will everybody be done by the time left in March? I’d say pretty close, maybe there’ll be a little spill over into April”.

Mr Donnelly also assured that this setback will not have long term ramifications for the overall vaccine rollout.

“We should be able to reschedule them and not have to delay other people; in other words, do the 30,000 at the same time as people we were planning on doing in the coming weeks as well”. 

“See what the EMA says” 

Stephen Donnelly did concede that it depends on what is revealed later this week.

“What we’ve to do now is see what the EMA says. Our hope obviously is that they come back very positively”, Donnelly said.

The Health Minister also added, “AstraZeneca itself has made the point that there have been less than 40 reports across Europe including the UK, that’s 17 million people who have been vaccinated”.

“AstraZeneca’s statement goes further. It says the incidence of blood clotting in the vaccinated population is actually less than you would see in the non-vaccinated population”.

“So the hope is the EMA will come back very shortly with a positive result, and we’ll crack on.”