Further changes to the vaccine roll-out plan could be on the cards as health officials review the use of AstraZeneca. A recommendation is expected to be made to government this evening.
Multiple reports this afternoon suggest the use of AstraZeneca is to be restricted to people aged 60 and over. Ireland would be the latest EU country to limit the use of AstraZeneca after reports of rare blood clots linked to that vaccine.
One of the key questions would be what will happen for people under 60, maybe with an underlying condition, who’ve already been given one dose of AstraZeneca. If NIAC does recommend use in over-60s only it presents a serious headache for the government logistically.
There are still hundreds of thousands of over-60s yet to be vaccinated – with the over-70s group likely to be finished around mid-May. Over the next three months 20% of the vaccines due to arrive in Ireland are from AstraZeneca, which gives some scope to find a workaround that will cause minimal impact to the roll-out timeframes.
David Hall CEO of lifeline Ambulances says 98 of his staff have had the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine:
”Its very unsettling. Its as unsettling, if not more unsettling having had the first jab and waiting on the second jab rather than not having one at all. So it most certainly is unsettling, and all of the conversation and all of the discussion thats been had around this. I think the only reassuring feature that very important that the benefits outweigh the risks and that has been repeatedly stated by all of the various agencies.”