By Q Radio News
Unvaccinated adults aged under 40-years-old in Northern Ireland will be offered an alternative to the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab.
New advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation states that under 40s can be offered the Pfizer vaccine due to a link between the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab and very rare blood clots.
The advice already applies to the under-30 cohort and it means that people aged 30-39 in Northern Ireland, who have not had their first dose, will be offered the Pfizer vaccine.
People who have already received a first dose of AstraZeneca will receive a second dose of the same jab, while others can make an informed choice to have the AstraZeneca vaccine if they would rather not wait for supplies of the Pfizer vaccine to become available.
(Those aged under 40 will now be offered the option to have the Pfizer vaccine in line with new guidance)
Northern Ireland’s chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride said: “It is important to reiterate that the potential risk associated with the AZ (AstraZeneca) first dose is extremely rare and that the threat from Covid-19 is much higher for the majority of adults.
“Getting vaccinated against this virus gives us hope – it protects us and helps us to start reclaim normality.
“I am looking forward to getting my second dose of AstraZeneca in the near future and I would again encourage everyone to come forward without delay for their first and second jabs when it’s their turn.”
The new guidelines mean that from Monday May 10:
- People aged 40-plus can book AstraZeneca first-dose appointments at the SSE Arena vaccination centre and community pharmacies.
- People aged 30-39 can book their Pfizer first-dose appointments at the other regional health trust vaccination centres in Northern Ireland.
- People aged 30-39 can choose to make an informed decision to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine from participating community pharmacies if they prefer, or if they decide they would rather not wait to receive an alternative jab.
- Anyone aged under 40 already booked for their first vaccine at one of the trust centres, including the SSE Arena in Belfast, will have this appointment honoured – with the Pfizer vaccine.
- Anyone of any age who has received an AstraZeneca first dose should proceed with their second dose of AstraZeneca – unless they had an extreme adverse reaction to their first dose.
(Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride has stressed any potential risk associated with the AZ jab is extremely rare)