GP urges Covid-19 vaccine cert for those hit by acute first-dose reaction

Doctor stresses seizures after her AstraZeneca jab were likely related to predisposition

Last weekend the GP had to sit outside a cafe with her husband and children in the pouring rain as she didn’t have a vaccination certificate to allow her eat indoors. File photograph: Getty

Last weekend the GP had to sit outside a cafe with her husband and children in the pouring rain as she didn’t have a vaccination certificate to allow her eat indoors. File photograph: Getty

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A GP who started getting seizures within days of receiving her first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is urging the Government to grant digital Covid-19 vaccination certificates to people like her for whom a second dose is contraindicated.

The young mother received her first dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in February this year as part of the frontline healthcare worker vaccination programme.

She suffered the first of numerous brain seizures within 36 hours and having been fit and healthy up to that point, apart from contracting Covid at the start of the pandemic, she believes these were triggered by the vaccine.

The suspected adverse reaction has been reported to the Health Products Regulatory Authority. She underwent neurosurgery in June but the seizures continue.

The doctor stressed her seizures were likely related to an undetected developmental predisposition she was unaware of prior to vaccination, but believes vaccination then triggered them. This was rare and she thus encourages anyone eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine to come forward, as for the overwhelming majority of people the benefits outweigh any risks.

Total doses distributed to Ireland Total doses administered in Ireland
10,093,390 8,193,802

Hospital Report

Confirmed cases in hospital Confirmed cases in ICU
543 118

She told The Irish Times her neurologist, GP and microbiologist have advised her against getting a second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Because of this she is ineligible to be granted a Covid-19 vaccination certificate. Consequently, she is unable to participate in situations where a Covid-19 vaccination certificate is mandatory – such as for indoor dining, and it may affect her ability to return to work. She remains on sick leave and faces further specialised treatment.

While the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) advises that those who have previously had a confirmed laboratory Covid-19 infection in the nine months prior to their first dose of AstraZeneca do not need a second dose to be classed as fully protected, the doctor is outside this window as she contracted coronavirus 11 months before she received her first dose.

The doctor said she has been in contact with Niac, the HSE’s chief clinical officer Dr Colm Henry, the National Immunisation Office and Department of Health, all of whom she said cannot help her in getting a vaccination cert. She has now contacted her local TDs.

‘Gap in the legislation’

Last weekend the GP had to sit outside a cafe with her husband and children in the pouring rain as she didn’t have a vaccination certificate to allow her eat indoors.

“My particular situation exposes a gap in the legislation as there currently is no provision for exemption to completing vaccination on medical grounds. This needs to be addressed at government level to protect people who have suffered serious adverse reactions to a Covid-19 vaccine.

“I am advocating on behalf of myself and other people in my position, who wish to complete the vaccine programme but due to genuine serious medical reasons cannot and therefore are not afforded the benefits associated with a Covid-19 vaccination certificate and are now facing exclusion from certain services and potentially work,” she said.

The HSE said it cannot comment on individual cases and that it is administering the vaccine programme in line with Niac guidance. The department said also it does not comment on individual cases.

Niac previously placed temporary age restrictions on the administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine following reports it was associated with potentially severe but very rare blood clotting events in some people. The European Medicines Agency carried out a review which concluded it was a safe and effective vaccine and the benefits still outweigh any risks.

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