AstraZeneca – much caution, little risk?


Sir, – Only people over the age of 60 should now be given the AstraZeneca vaccine, and that age group is scheduled for the next round of vaccinations as they are at higher risk of death from Covid-19 than younger cohorts. But the second dose of AstraZeneca is not given until 12 weeks after the first, so those over 60 vaccinated in two weeks will not be fully vaccinated until mid-August. The next age cohort (less at risk of death from Covid-19, and permitted to have AstraZeneca in other countries), vaccinated a month later using Pfizer or Moderna, will have their second dose three to four weeks later and will be fully vaccinated in early July. Logical? – Yours, etc,



Dublin 14.

Sir, – The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) agreed that the AstraZeneca vaccine would be given only to the 60- to 69-year-old cohort. How many people aged 60 to 69 were included in the tests or rollout of this vaccine? This is of grave concern to those in this cohort. Why should we be the guinea pigs for this vaccine, which has now been shown to have risks of blood clotting in people of various ages? Could we, therefore, have a choice in the vaccine we eventually receive? – Yours, etc,



Dublin 4.

Sir, – The Government is so mesmerised by the operational difficulties presented by the latest restrictions to the AstraZeneca vaccination criteria that it seems to be in denial as to the rising vaccine hesitancy among the 60 to 69 cohort. Has it taken its eye off the ball on what really matters, ensuring confidence in the vaccination programme, or it just concerned with finding arms into which it can discharge the already purchased 850,000 AstraZeneca vaccines! – Yours, etc,



Co Kildare.

Sir, – Does Niac also recommend that the contraceptive pill (blood clots are a rare side-effect) should not be given to women under 60 years of age?

Based on available data, the most recent decision of Niac about the AstraZeneca vaccine does not make sense to me. – Yours, etc,



Co Cork.

Sir, – I fear that with plans to halt the use of AstraZeneca in under-60s due to very rare blood clots, Niac is failing to fully account for the fact that Covid-19 has killed nearly 5,000 people in this country, and vaccination has killed as yet none.

This level of risk analysis appears to be equivalent to halting the use of seatbelts because they can cause whiplash in crashes. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 4.

Sir, – Everyone understands that all medicines come with some caveat: just living is a risky business. Driving to a centre for your jab is more dangerous then the possibility of a fatal clot.

If the vaccine authorities are afraid to now recommend the AstraZeneca vaccine for all, and the the medical people are afraid to challenge that, and the Government is afraid to ignore that advice, let the public themselves choose.

The AstraZeneca vaccine should be made available at selected centres to all that want it, on a first come, first served basis. Those that follow the science and understand the risks – and are far down the list – will be delighted to secure immunity now rather than wait for a never-ending and tortuous rollout to conclude. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – How is Niac going to explain this nonsense to the public if and when other vaccines start to show side-effects, real or otherwise, in similar minute numbers?

Are we going to restrict their use as well? – Yours, etc,



Co Meath.