Covid-19: No additional deaths in the Republic but 381 new infections

Five suspected blood-clot cases linked to AstraZeneca vaccine in Northern Ireland

Of the new cases, 188 were in Dublin. File photograph: The Irish Times

Of the new cases, 188 were in Dublin. File photograph: The Irish Times

 

No further deaths of Covid-19 patients have been reported by the National Public Health Emergency Team on Monday. This leaves at 4,921 the total number of deaths in the pandemic.

The team also reported 381 confirmed cases of the disease, bringing to 253,189 the total number of cases in the Republic.

Of the new cases, 188 were in Dublin, 39 in Donegal, 30 in Kildare, 13 in Limerick, 13 in Cork, 13 in Tipperary and 13 in Westmeath, with the remaining 72 spread across 15 other counties.

The median age of cases is 31 years and 77 per cent are under 45.

The 14-day incidence of the disease now stands at 129 cases per 100,000 people. Donegal and Kildare have the highest county incidences; Kerry has the lowest.

On Monday morning, 124 Covid-19 patients were hospitalised, of which 31 were in intensive care. There were 15 additional hospitalisations in the previous 24 hours.

  As of Saturday, 1,827,610 doses of vaccine had been administered in Ireland: 1,327,821 first doses and 499,789 people second doses.

Meanwhile, five suspected cases of blood clots linked to the AstraZeneca Covid 19 vaccine have been found in Northern Ireland since the start of its vaccination programme, according to a United Kingdom government report.

Some 550,000 people in the region have received the jab over the same period.

The figures are based on the UK’s Yellow Card reporting system, where members of the public or health officials can report suspected side-effects of medicines, vaccines or medical devices.

They are analysed by the UK independent watchdog Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The latest weekly bulletin, which covers reports up to April 28th, also showed 198 suspected blood clot cases linked to the AstraZeneca jab in England, 18 in Scotland and nine in Wales.

A further 12 reports were made within the UK where the jurisdiction was unknown.

The North’s Department of Health said “the adverse reactions following the Oxford-AstraZeneca first dose are extremely rare.”

“MHRA emphasises that for the vast majority of people, the benefits of preventing serious illness and death far outweigh any risks,” it said.

“The AstraZeneca vaccine has already saved thousands of lives in the UK and around the world. Many people in Northern Ireland are alive and well today because of it. The fact that we are now emerging from lockdown is thanks, in no small measure, to the availability of Astra Zeneca and Pfizer vaccines.”

The department said it “should not be assumed” that every report of suspected adverse reactions to the UK’s Yellow Card system “are definitely caused by medicines or vaccines”.

“Such extremely rare blood clots do occur naturally and Covid infection also significantly increases the risk of blood clots,” it added.

“The balance of benefits and risks with Astra Zeneca is very favourable for older people but is more finely balanced for younger people. The Covid-19 risk to younger people has now decreased significantly, with rates of infection having decreased in Northern Ireland.”

In the North, those aged 30-39 years without any an underlying health condition that puts them at higher risk of severe Covid-19 can be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine “where possible and only where no substantial delay or barrier in access to vaccination would arise.”

Anyone who has already had a first dose of the vaccine without suffering “this rare side-effect” are being advised to get their second jab.

According to the UK government report, 54,139 Yellow Cards have been reported for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, up to April 28th.

There were 160,543 for the AstraZeneca vaccine, 683 for the Moderna vaccine and 574 have been reported where the brand of the vaccine was not specified.

It stressed that the data cannot be used to derive side-effect rates or compare the safety profile of Covid-19 vaccinations, as many factors are involved in the reporting.

For all Covid-19 vaccines, the “overwhelming majority” of reports relate to the likes of sore arms from injections, generalised symptoms such as flu-like illness, headache, chills, tiredness, nausea, fever, dizziness, weakness, aching muscles, and rapid heartbeat.

“Generally, these happen shortly after the vaccination and are not associated with more serious or lasting illness,” it added.

Meanwhile, the North’s department of health said there had been no further deaths reported on Monday of patients who had previously tested positive for Covid-19 in Northern Ireland.

The department said there had been an additional 76 cases of the virus confirmed in the last 24-hour reporting period. On Monday morning, there were 57 Covid-19 positive inpatients in hospital, of whom six were in intensive care.

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