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More than 30,000 face vaccine deferral as State suspends AstraZeneca use over clotting fears

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irishtimes– The Government will await the outcome of an investigation by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) before deciding whether it should resume vaccinations with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

On Sunday the Government announced it was suspending use of the AstraZeneca vaccine after concerns emerged in Norway about blood clots in patients who had received the vaccine. The move is another blow to the vaccination programme, already suffering from missed deliveries and a slower-than-expected rollout.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said the Government would await the assessment of the EMA on Thursday before taking advice from its own experts on the future use of the vaccine.

The Government was acting out of an “abundance of caution”, he said, but it means about 30,000 people who were due to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine this week may miss out.

In the longer term, it could impede plans to vaccinate the entire adult population by September. AstraZeneca has accounted for only a fifth of doses administered so far, but was expected to play a greater role as supplies improved.

Mr Donnelly said missed vaccinations could catch up in the coming weeks if use of the vaccine were re-authorised quickly.

To date, 120,000 people have received a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Ireland.