Irish vaccine task force recommends temporary halt after reports of blood clots among those who received the COVID jab.
Ireland’s vaccine task force has recommended temporarily suspending the rollout of the AstraZeneca coronavirus jab, following reports of blood clots in adults who received the shot.
“The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) has recommended that the administration of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca be temporarily deferred from this morning,” Ireland’s deputy chief medical officer Ronan Glynn said in a statement on Sunday.
He said the recommendation has been made “on the precautionary principle” after “a report from the Norwegian Medicines Agency of four new reports of serious blood clotting events in adults after vaccination”.
The NIAC is due to meet on Sunday morning and to issue a further statement on the matter.
Al Jazeera’s Jonah Hull, reporting from London, said the move by the Irish task force was concerning for the drugmaker.
“The company has been very quick to jump on this and robustly defended its vaccine, pointing out that safety data compiled over the last couple of months showed no evidence of any increased risk of pulmonary embolism or thrombosis,” Hull said.
The recommendation comes at a time when Irish authorities have been pressing the pharmaceutical firm to speed up its supplies to the country.
Some 570,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered in Ireland to date, according to government data last updated on Wednesday.
A total of 109,000 of those doses have been manufactured by the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, which developed its vaccine with Oxford University.
Meanwhile, Norway announced on Thursday that it was also halting the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“This is a cautionary decision,” Geir Bukholm, director of infection prevention and control at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI), told a news conference.
FHI did not say how long the suspension would last.
“We … await information to see if there is a link between the vaccination and this case with a blood clot,” Bukholm said.
Also on Thursday, Italy said it would suspend the use of an AstraZeneca batch that was different to the one used in Austria.
Austria has stopped using a batch of AstraZeneca shots while investigating a death from coagulation disorders and an illness from a pulmonary embolism.
Denmark will not use AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine for two weeks after reports that some recipients had developed serious blood clots, and in one case may have died as a result, the country’s authorities said on Thursday. They did not say how many reports of blood clots there had been.
AstraZeneca, meanwhile, told Reuters news agency in a written statement the safety of its vaccine had been extensively studied in human trials, and peer-reviewed data had confirmed the vaccine was generally well tolerated.