Luke O’Neill condemns suspension of AstraZeneca vaccine

Professor Luke O’Neill has said the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) is “not trusting the science” behind the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Luke O’Neill, a professor of biochemistry at Trinity College Dublin, has told Newstalk that he is “disappointed” with the “very disturbing” decision to suspend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Ireland pending an investigation into blood clots in several Norwegian recipients.

30,000 AstraZeneca vaccines will not now be administered in the coming days as a result, something O’Neill claims will put lives at risk.

“They are not trusting the science,” he said.

“17 million people have had this vaccine and there is no evidence of any kind that it is causing blood clots.

“And even worse, we know the virus itself causes blood clots – there is a high risk of that – so they are putting 30,000 people at risk now who aren’t getting vaccinated this week, so I think it is very disturbing to be honest.”

AstraZeneca claims there is “no evidence” that blood clotting is linked to their injection.

Although Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has said the suspension could be lifted later this week, O’Neill says the NIAC’s precautionary move has had a ripple effect in the UK too, where authorities are now issuing statements to reassure the public about the vaccine’s safety.

“The MHRA (The UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency) of course, they are on the ropes now,” he said.

“Phil Bryan, who is head of the MHRA in the UK, he made a statement last night saying, ‘we are aware of what is happening in Ireland, we are reviewing things all the time.’ He said people should still go ahead and get the vaccine – that is the UK saying that.

“The EMA remember have also said – this was three days ago – they said keep using it because the benefits far outweigh the risks, so, it is just a strange one.

“I guess it typifies what is going on, this hugely cautious approach, but remember there are 30,000 people who won’t get the vaccine this week.

“These are high-risk vulnerable people so they better make their minds up on this one I think.”

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