Northern Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Michael McBride has received his first AstraZeneca vaccine shot today, despite European countries halting its administration.
The CMO told reporters that he was “delighted to get the AstraZeneca vaccine this morning” and “welcomed the opportunity,” this morning.
Northern Ireland First Minister and DUP leader Arlene Foster is due to receive her first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine in two weeks and urged people to receive the vaccine in a statement made on the recent COVID-19 figures in Northern Ireland.
“I am looking forward to taking it, either this week or next week, depending on when I am able to get my vaccine booked for but it is very important that people continue to take the vaccine,” she told PA reporters.
Northern Ireland elected to continue administering the AstraZeneca vaccine despite European countries such as Germany, Denmark and even the Republic of Ireland temporarily stopping giving it to people, after a report stated concerns over the vaccine’s connection to blood clots in certain patients.
The Health Products Regulatory Authority has since said that there is “currently no indication that the [AstraZeneca] vaccine was the cause of these events and there may be alternative explanations for their occurrence that are unrelated to the vaccine”, in a statement yesterday.
Professor of Immunology, Prof Luke O’Neill said that the government were not trusting the science behind the vaccine on Newstalk with Pat Kenny this morning.
“17 million people have had this vaccine and there is no evidence of any kind that it is causing blood clots,” he said.
Northern Ireland passed the half a million vaccines administered milestone on February 26, almost 10 days before the Republic of Ireland passed that same milestone.
Latest figures show that there have been a total of 2,099 deaths associated with COVID-19 in Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland hospitals are said to be operating at 93% capacity.