People across the country have received the AstraZeneca vaccine today following a six-day break in the rollout of the vaccine.
The decision to restart vaccinations came after health officials recommended the rollout should resume after an European Medicines Agency review this week found that the vaccine was safe.
Some European countries suspended the use of the vaccine after reports of blood clots in a number of people who received the vaccine in Scandanavia.
But the EMA review concluded that the AstraZeneca vaccine is not associated with an increased overall risk of blood clotting disorders.
The agency noted ‘very rare cases of unusual blood clots’ accompanied by low levels of blood platelets after vaccination, and the reported cases were almost all in women under 55 years.
Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer, HSE, welcomed the review by the European Medicines Agency and the ‘positive outcome’.
“We know there are huge benefits in terms of preventing serious illness and hospitalisations, even after the first dose for all vaccines, including the AstraZeneca vaccine,” said Dr Henry.
“We are already seeing very positive and significant changes in terms of reported COVID-19 cases in healthcare workers and vulnerable groups.
“There are clear benefits for this vaccine in protecting against serious illness from Covid-19.”
The HSE recommends that people offered the vaccine should attend their appointment for the vaccine as soon as it is offered.
Only those who have had a severe allergic reaction following a previous dose of the vaccine or any of its constituents – including polysorbate 80 – should not receive it.
People are advised to delay the vaccine if they have an acute illness with a fever and they should also delay vaccination if they have received another vaccine within the last 14 days or if they have had COVID-19 within the past four weeks.
The second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine should be administered 12 weeks after the first dose.
There are no appointments scheduled yet for second doses.