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NI to continue use of AstraZeneca vaccine despite ‘suspension’ in Republic amid blood clot fears

'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'

Covid vaccine

The AstraZeneca vaccine will continue to be used in Northern Ireland despite its suspension in other areas amid claims it has resulted in blood clots which have resulted in a number of deaths.

The Northern Ireland health service administers COVID-19 vaccines under the expert direction of the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency).

The MHRA is the UK regulatory body for medicines and approves vaccines for public use when it is satisfied on grounds of safety and effectiveness.

On Thursday, the MHRA advised the public to continue getting their COVID-19 vaccines. This advice followed a decision by some countries to temporarily suspend the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine as a precautionary measure.

Health Minister Robin Swann and the Department of Health sought an update from the MHRA today (Sunday) in light of the temporary AstraZeneca halt announced by the Republic of Ireland.

The MHRA has today advised: “We are aware of the action in Ireland. 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.”

In line with MHRA guidance, the roll-out of Northern Ireland’s vaccination programme will continue. A further expansion of this programme will be announced very shortly.

AstraZeneca vaccines are helping to protect the most vulnerable in our community from COVID-19, saving lives and reducing hospitalisation levels.

The statement the MHRA issued on Thursday can be viewed here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/mhra-response-to-danish-authorities-action-to-temporarily-suspend-the-astrazeneca-covid-19-vaccine

Similar advice was issued by the European Medicines Agency, the EU’s regulator for medicines:

https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/news/covid-19-vaccine-astrazeneca-prac-investigating-cases-thromboembolic-events-vaccines-benefits

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