The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) has said that the AstraZeneca vaccine is not recommended for people aged under 60, including those with medical conditions with very high or high risk of severe coronavirus disease.
NIAC also recommended that a second dose of the vaccine should not be given to anyone who "developed unusual blood clots with low platelets after the first dose".
They also advise:
- Those aged 60 and older should receive their second dose 12 weeks later as scheduled.
- Those aged under 60 years with a very high risk or high-risk medical condition should receive their second dose 12 weeks later as scheduled.
- Those aged under 60 years without a very high risk or high-risk medical condition should have the scheduled interval between doses extended to 16 weeks to allow further assessment of the benefits and risks as more evidence becomes available.
Professor Karina Butler, chairperson of NIAC, said: “While this is an extremely rare condition, consideration must be given to the fact that it has a very high risk of death or severe outcome."
"As the risk/benefits of [AstraZeneca] vaccine may vary by age and as alternative Covid-19 vaccines are available, NIAC has revised the recommendations for use of this vaccine."
"We strongly encourage everyone to accept the Covid-19 vaccine they are offered. A high uptake of vaccines in every age group is needed if Covid-19 is to be controlled, so that public health restrictions may be safely removed,” she added.
This is likely to have an impact on the continuing roll-out of the national vaccination campaign as Ireland is expecting deliveries of 813,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses between April and June.