AstraZeneca vaccinations could resume ‘within hours’ of safety green light

ireland
Astrazeneca Vaccinations Could Resume ‘Within Hours’ Of Safety Green Light
A Dublin hospital consultant said it could make up for the pause 'with committed staff and longer hours'. Photo: PA Wire.
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Vivienne Clarke

Vaccinations with the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine could resume “within hours” in a Dublin hospital once it is given the green light by authorities.

Infectious diseases consultant Dr Eoghan De Barra said Beaumont Hospital could make up for the pause in its vaccination programme “with committed staff and longer hours”.

Speaking on RTÉ News at One, Dr De Barra explained that the hospital had 3,000 people with serious conditions registered within its system and vaccinations could resume without delay for the fourth cohort of the State’s priority list.

As a renal transplant centre and a centre for some specific cancers, the hospital had already commenced vaccinating “in-house” patients before the AstraZeneca vaccine was “paused” and continued using mRNA vaccines.

Beaumont’s programme could be “turned on again” in short order and it could proceed within hours for “in-house” patients, while its administration commenced organising other vulnerable patients to attend for their vaccine.

'Make up lost time'

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The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is expected to make a final decision on the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Thursday.

“We have AstraZeneca in the fridge. It has a shelf life of six months. We have vaccinators and could proceed within hours,” Dr De Barra said.

Dr De Barra said that once the vaccine was approved by the EMA, as he expected it would be, the Irish authorities of the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) and National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) would have to instruct the HSE and with “minimum delay” the vaccination programme could resume.

The consultant said that 3,000 patients could be vaccinated within “a week or two”.

“We can do 500 patients per day. AstraZeneca is a lot easier to work with than Pfizer. We could make up lost time once we get the green light. With committed staff and longer hours we could catch up,” he said.

The decision to take a “pause” in using the AstraZeneca vaccine was understandable, he said.

It was the route that had to be taken to show that there was a robust safety system in place to reassure people. However, it would have been easier if there had been “no wobbles” along the way.

Ireland was fortunate that there was a low proportion of vaccine sceptics, he added.

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