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HomeLive StreamAstraZeneca safe and effective says NI CMO, as he receives first jab

AstraZeneca safe and effective says NI CMO, as he receives first jab

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Northern Ireland’s chief medical officer said he did not hesitate in having an AstraZeneca vaccine, despite the temporary pause of its rollout in the Irish Republic.

Dr Michael McBride received his first jab on Monday as the vaccination programme north of the border opened to those aged 50 and above.

The latest phase of the rollout was announced after the Irish Republic joined a number of other European countries in temporarily suspending use of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine after reports from Norway of a small number of vaccinated people who had developed serious blood clots.

Dr McBride, who received his shot at the Ulster Hospital at Dundonald near Belfast, insisted the vaccine was “safe and effective”.

He said the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had made clear there was no evidence of a link between the vaccine and reported cases of blood clots.

He said there had been no reported concerns of vaccine linkage to clotting in Northern Ireland.

“I didn’t need to be called a second time this morning when the opportunity was to get my vaccine,” he said.

In regard to the clotting reports, Dr McBride said: “The MHRA is very clear that they do not feel that those are linked to the vaccine and are probably random events which are occurring, and would have occurred, normally.

Dr Michael McBride / PA Wire

“What the public should be assured of is that the MHRA is a global leader in safety and efficacy of vaccines and is publishing data on side effects on a weekly basis.”

Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster who is now eligible to book a vaccination slot, urged people to continue taking the vaccine.

“I am looking forward to taking it, either this week or next week, depending on when I am able to get my vaccine booked for, but it is very important that people continue to take the vaccine,” she said.

“We have made huge progress in the UK in relation to the vaccine so it is important that people continue to do that so we can leave lockdown in the rear view mirror and we can move on with our lives.”

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