18-34 year olds to be given J&J vaccine from today

As of today 750 pharmacies around the country will offer the single-dose Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine to the 18 to 34 cohort.

Additionally, starting from next week, vaccination centres around the country will be offering the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to the same age cohort.

This is despite the fact that a recent European Centre for Disease Control study showed that while the vaccine would prevent 10 covid deaths in the 18-34 age group, it might actually cause 21 deaths from blood clotting in the same cohort. The study concluded that the risks of taking the AstraZeneca jab outweighed the benefits for younger individuals.

Darragh O’Loughlin, speaking on behalf of the Irish Pharmacy Union, spoke to Newstalk about the development.

“Everybody aged between 18 and 34 is equally eligible for the vaccine,” he said.

“The same goes for anyone over 50 who can still obtain the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccination in a pharmacy.”

According to O’Loughlin, pharmacists will offer the jab to the younger age cohort, but will be prioritising older individuals and those who are more vulnerable. This is reportedly due to a shortage of supplies.

According to the Irish Pharmacy Union, there is very little vaccine hesitancy among younger individuals, and pharmacies have been receiving 10 times more phone calls for appointments than vaccines that are available.

“As the HSE distributes more vaccines out to pharmacies, a pharmacy will get in touch with them and offer them an appointment as soon as possible,” O’Loughlin said.

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