Apr 07, 2021
Covid: NI adults under 30 to be offered Oxford-AZ alternative
Adults under 30 who do not have underlying medical conditions will be offered an slotxo alternative to the Oxford AstraZeneca-vaccine in Northern Ireland.
It comes after the UK medicines regulator said there was a possible link between the jab and "extremely rare" blood clots.
The regulator said the benefits still outweigh the risks overall.
The vaccine has been given almost 500,000 times in Northern Ireland.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said it while it has not concluded that the vaccine causes rare blood clots, it says the link is getting firmer.
On Wednesday evening Northern Ireland's Department of Health confirmed that those aged between 18 and 29 years old who do not have an underlying medical condition, would be offered an alternative vaccine when this is available.
The MHRA said the balance of risk for the AstraZeneca vaccine is very favourable for older people but "more finely balanced" for younger groups, who do not tend to suffer serious Covid illness.
The Oxford Astrazeneca-vaccine will continue to be available to everyone aged over 30, and adults of all ages who have underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious illness or death from Covid-19.
The Department of Health said it will be updating health professionals and the public with the new advice.
It will also be reassessing the timeframe for the total vaccine rollout in Northern Ireland.
"The expert advice to people aged 30 and over, and to adults of all ages who are vulnerable to COVID-19, is clear - get the AstraZeneca vaccine to protect yourself from the COVID-19 virus," the department said.
It added the jab would "continue to have a vital role in saving lives, reducing hospitalisations and helping Northern Ireland move out of lockdown".
Meanwhile, the EU's medicine regulator said unusual blood clots should be listed as a very rare side effect of the AstraZeneca vaccine for Covid-19.