Ballygar GP, Dr. Martin Daly, has said the Government and the HSE now face a huge challenge in restoring faith in the AstraZeneca vaccine after it was temporarily withdrawn from the national vaccination programme on Sunday last.
Ireland was among a number of countries to defer use of the jab following a report from the Norwegian Medicines Agency of four cases of serious blood clotting events in adults after receiving the vaccine.
The European Medicines Agency said there is currently no indication that the vaccination caused the conditions while the World Health Organisation said this week that countries should continue using it.
Dr. Daly believes the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) was overly cautious this week.
“We have to trust in the regulatory bodies of course, but I do think we were excessively cautious in our approach to the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“It is now likely that the European Medicines Agency will recommend that the vaccine be reinstated. The HSE, Government and other health bodies now face a big job of work in restoring faith in AstraZeneca,” he said.
Dr. Daly said he understood why health authorities had been quick to suspend the vaccine following previous scandals as well as a culture of litigation, but added that now was the time to reverse damaging publicity.
He said the UK has led its vaccination programme with AstraZeneca and while around 40% of its population was now vaccinated, there have been minimal serious side-effects reported.
“There was so much disappointment with the suspension of AstraZeneca because a lot of hopes were pinned to it. It’s extremely effective and easily distributed to communities with no storage issues. It is a vital component in the fight against Covid-19,” he said, before calling on senior political figures to play their part in its reinstatement.
“I would like to see some of our high profile leaders taking the AstraZeneca vaccine to demonstrate their confidence in it. This has worked very well in the US with President Joe Biden taking it and with the Queen in the UK”.