Why has Ireland suspended use of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine and is it unsafe?

Why has Ireland suspended use of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine and is it unsafe?

OVER the weekend, Ireland halted its distribution and use of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine.

For anyone wondering why, or trying to work whether the vaccine is safe or not, here's everything we know:

Why has Ireland suspended use the AstraZeneca vaccine?

Following the publication of new data by the Norwegian Medicines Agency - where it was revealed that three health workers who had received the vaccine were subsequently treated for bleeding and blood clots - concerns have been raised over the safety of the AstraZeneca jab.

Since then, a report conducted by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) found that 30 people had been diagnosed with clots after taking the jab. This prompted many countries to stop its administration.

However, some have suggested that the suspension has been used as a way for the EU to justify its slow vaccination roll-outs, and they've exaggerated the dangers of the vaccine in an attempt to save face after major supply issues at AstraZeneca have slowed down distribution.

Which other nations have suspended use of the vaccine?

Ireland has joined the likes of Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Bulgaria, Denmark, Norway, and The Netherlands in suspending the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Sweden and Latvia have also joined the list as of Tuesday morning.

Is the AstraZeneca vaccine safe?

It seems so.

While there have been reports of blood clotting in isolated cases, the vast majority of patients who have accepted the jab have experienced little to no side effects.

AstraZeneca have claimed that the blood clot condition is only evident in one in 500,000 cases, which is a rate lower than that in the general population.

This, the pharmaceutical company claims, demonstrates that there is no causal evidence that their vaccine has caused the blood clots.

What are the experts saying?

Many have said it is "reckless" to stop using a vaccine which can protect people from a deadly virus - which kills one in 200 people, and is far more likely to cause blood clots - because of a handful of reports of negative side effects.

Should anyone who has taken the jab already be worried?

It doesn't appear so.

Britain has administered around 11 million AstraZeneca vaccine to its population, and only 53,000 people have reported side effects, most of which are routine ailments like headaches and nausea.

British health experts have insisted that the vaccine is absolutely safe and say that people should keep taking it.

"We are closely reviewing reports but given the large number of doses administered, and the frequency at which blood clots can occur naturally, the evidence available does not suggest the vaccine is the cause," said Dr Phil Bryan of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

"People should still go and get their Covid vaccine when asked to do so."