Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

16.14 18 Mar 2021


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The EMA has concluded the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe and effective.

It follows a meeting of experts to review the data on blood clots experienced by a small number of people in Europe after they were vaccinated.

An update on whether AstraZeneca vaccinations can resume in Ireland is expected tomorrow.

The use of the jab was suspended in a number of countries, including Ireland, over blood clotting concerns.

The EMA has concluded the jab is not associated with an increase in the overall risk of blood clotting, although they cannot yet rule out definitively a link between the vaccine and rare clotting cases.

EMA Executive Director Emer Cooke said their investigation has shown the vaccine is safe and effective, and its benefits outweigh any possible risks.

However, she said an investigation into rare blood cases “cannot rule out definitively a link between the cases and the vaccine”.

As a result, officials will 'raise awareness' of the possible risks and side effects.

Additional investigations are also being launched into the rare clotting cases.

Ms Cooke said EU member states now have the information they need to make an 'informed decision' about the continued use of the vaccine.

The EMA also says there's no evidence of a problem related to specific batches of the vaccine or to particular manufacturing sites.

Here, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn welcomed the EMA's announcement, and said health officials will consider it tonight and tomorrow.

He added they'll give an update on the vaccine's use here tomorrow once they've reached a decision.

Earlier, the HSE said it would respond quickly to whatever decision is made by the European Medicines Agency on the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

Chief executive Paul Reid said the decision to pause the use of the vaccine showed “the huge emphasis we will continuously put on safety”.

However, he reassured the public that officials will respond without delay to any decision made by the EMA.

The temporary suspension of the jab in Ireland has led to around 30,000 people having their vaccinations delayed in Ireland.

The Taoiseach has previously said he's hopeful the vaccine programme will 'catch up quickly' after the pause.

Main image: EMA's Emer Cooke

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