09 Aug 2022

MEP for Offaly wants young people to get a choice of restricted Covid-19 vaccines

astrazeneca covid-19 vaccination ireland

AstraZeneca vaccine will be used on adults

Younger people should be allowed to choose to take the AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson vaccines according to a Fianna Fáil Member of the European Parliament Billy Kelleher

The MEP for Ireland South, which takes in Offaly, wants the Government and National Immunisation Advisor Committee (NIAC) to consider allowing people to opt-in. 

Blood clotting side effects linked to both jabs have caused regulators in Ireland and other countries to restrict their use to older age groups. AstraZeneca was originally intended for all age groups between 18-70. It has been discontinued in some countries.

The Johnson & Johnson Jansen single jab vaccine is set to be cleared for the over 50s  in Ireland.

“Over the past week, our vaccination teams have powered through the 65-69 year old cohort, and are making steady progress with the 60-64 cohort.

“However, a pinch point will soon arrive where those left to be vaccinated, the under 60s will have to wait for additional Pfizer supplies to arrive while we have AstraZeneca and possibly J&J vaccines building up in fridges.

“Fundamentally, it must be recognised that the risk of not being vaccinated, for all age groups, is significantly greater than the risk of a serious adverse reaction to taking either of these vaccines.

“Therefore, considerable thought should be given by decision-makers to allowing those in younger age cohorts to voluntarily take the AstraZeneca vaccine or J&J vaccines if they choose to do so. If there is a concern about liability, a waiver system should be put in place.

“I have to say that sometimes I feel that the Irish “Abundance of Concern” seems to be significantly greater than that of fellow EU Member States. Ultimately, that will cause delays in vaccinations.

“Of course, I am not an expert in vaccine safety, and would never claim to be one. However, I do believe that we need to look at what our other colleagues in the EU are doing.  While some have placed restrictions on the use of AstraZeneca, most Member States have not. That has to count for something.

“Ultimately, we need to enable citizens to make an informed choice when it comes to taking a vaccine,” concluded Kelleher.

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