THERE WILL be no alternative vaccines offered to anyone refusing the AstraZeneca jab.
That’s the warning coming from health chiefs in Ireland today as the rollout of the Oxford University-developed vaccine resumes.
It comes after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and Ireland’s National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) gave the green light for inoculations using the vaccine to continue.
Use of the AstraZeneca jab had previously been paused in Ireland following several reports of blood-clotting side-effects from across Europe.
Any concerns have since been quashed after an EMA report concluded there was no link between the jab and a handful of instances where patients developed blood clots.
Worries still remain that some in Ireland could turn down the jab, following reports of similar refusals in countries like Italy and Germany.
However, NIAC chairwoman Professor Karina Butler has warned there is “no spare capacity” to offer people a choice of jab.
“If it was a situation where there were ten different brands on the shelf, that would be different situation. We know that each of these vaccines is proven effective, and is very effectively preventing hospitalisation and serious illness.
“So we would strongly encourage everyone to accept the vaccine that they are offered,” she said.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn has called on the public to take advantage of any offer of a vaccine, AstraZeneca or otherwise.
Dr Glynn noted that more than 117,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered in Ireland to date, with no reports of the serious clotting associated with low platelets received by the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA).
“People should be reassured that we acted quickly. We saw a signal, we acted upon it, counterparts across the EU acted upon it. They undertook an urgent investigation. They have looked at all the data and they have concluded it is safe to recommence the programme,” he said.
“I would urge anyone who is offered the vaccine to take it.
“We know that it is an extremely effective vaccine. We have seen the phenomenal effects that it is having on caseloads in other jurisdictions and we’re lucky to have it as part of a range of vaccines that are now available to us.”
Taoiseach Micheál Martin has already given his backing to the AstraZeneca jab, saying he would have no issue taking it if offered.
Address concerns over any potential hesitancy in the public, Dr Glynn said: “We have three very effective vaccines. The single best thing we can do as a population right now, to protect everyone, is to get these vaccines in the round rolled out as quickly as possible.
“Again, I’ve said it previously, I’d reiterate it, if I was offered any of those three vaccines right now, I would take it. It is a safe vaccine, it is an effective vaccine. We can see the effectiveness in caseloads in other jurisdictions. We are lucky to have it,” he added.
50,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are currently being held in cold storage in Dublin with a further 10,000 set to arrive next week.