Ballybrit to halt AstraZeneca vaccinations amid countrywide suspension

By Claire Henry

The vaccination centre at Ballybrit has been forced to halt AstraZeneca vaccinations as it has been temporarily deferred from use in Ireland.

The decision followed a new advisory from Norway on Saturday that four people given the AstraZeneca vaccine had experienced blood clotting issues, and all had low platelet counts.

The Health Minister, Stephen Donnelly, said that the suspension was a “precautionary step.”

Galway Vaccination Centre

The Galway vaccination centre is located at Galway Racecourse, in Ballybrit, has over 42 vaccination booths and a staff of over 200. Currently, no AstraZeneca vaccinations are taking place at the centre.

More than 117,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine have been used in Ireland so far, mainly to frontline healthcare workers.

The HSE has advised that if you have an appointment for the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to not go to this appointment. It will reschedule it according to the HSE website.

National Immunisation Advisory Committee

Professor Karina Butler, Chair of NIAC, said an EU wide meeting is due to take place on Thursday afternoon.

“I am sure we will wait for the deliberations at that, and depending on what the results are and what the outcomes are, which we can’t pre-empt that we have the capacity to respond promptly.

“All vaccines authorised for use in Ireland are proven to be very effective against severe Covid-19 disease.

The safety of the vaccines is underpinned by the ongoing monitoring that the NIAC, the HPRA and the EMA undertake on a rolling basis,” she said.

Rachel O’Connor booked time off work to receive the AstraZeneca Vaccine in the Ballybrit vaccination centre on Monday.

In addition to her cancelled vaccination, ms O’Connor feels she “would be happier to receive any other vaccine rather than the AstraZeneca now”.

“I would like to receive a vaccine as I hope to have more freedom, but I do not think that life will return to pre-Covid-19,” she said.

Áine Burke is a frontline healthcare worker from Galway who is currently caring for her mother, who underwent major surgery recently.

Ms Burke received the AstraZeneca vaccine in February and said she was initially nervous of side edicts, “I was not only relieved but also starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I do feel nervous regarding the possibility of developing blood clots. If the AstraZeneca vaccine is discontinued indefinitely, can we get a different vaccine, or is it harmful to mix vaccines?” she said.

What the symptoms of concern are

People who have received the Covid-19 AstraZeneca Vaccine and feel increasingly unwell for more than three days after vaccination.

People who notice larger or smaller blue spots in the skin (purpuric, non-blanching rash, skin haemorrhages) should consult a doctor or out-of-hours medical service immediately.

These rare events that have been reported have usually occurred within 14 days of the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca.

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