Republic of Ireland news

I would take the AstraZeneca jab, Taoiseach says

The European drugs regulator has said the Astra/Zeneca vaccine is safe. Picture by Alessandra Tarantino
Michelle Devane, PA

The Taoiseach has said he would have no issue taking the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine if he was offered it.

Micheál Martin also said the Republic's government was “gearing up” to resume administering the jab after its use was temporarily suspended “in an abundance of caution” over the raising of concerns around blood clots.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) is considering whether to resume the vaccine after a ruling by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) that the AstraZeneca vaccine is “safe and effective”.

It is expected to make a decision later today.

Mr Martin was speaking at the Port of Cork today as he announced 405 million euro funding for regeneration projects in Cork city and county.

Asked whether he would take the Astra Zeneca vaccine, Mr Martin said: “Yes I would, I would indeed.

“I expect a decision will be made today in relation to that. We’re gearing up in terms of resuming that.”

The Cork South Central TD was speaking after deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said yesterday that he welcomed the EMA making its position clear and that the National Immunisation Advisory Committee was meeting with counterparts across Europe following the EMA’s statement.

Dr Glynn also indicated yesterday that tough restrictions could remain in place until June.

Speaking today the Taoiseach said he would not speculate about changes to the public health restrictions for April and that the government will inform the public in the next couple of weeks of any changes to the measures.

"I am not going to speculate but we will give people clear indications in advance of the 5th of April as to how we see April panning out," Mr Martin said.

"I don't believe in speculating beyond that and we will certainly make it very clear to people.

"We are thinking and reflecting on the outdoor situation and outdoor activities and what might be possible there because mental health is very important."

He added: "We do understand and get it that people are fed up.

"I want to thank people, I think people have been remarkable. We have brought numbers down from a very high level after Christmas to very, relatively low levels. They're still high.

"Our big concern is the variant. This variant is more transmissible. And we know from British for search again, that it's more deadly."

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