Tuesday, 27 July 2021
Department of Health
2218. To ask the Minister for Health if he will address a matter raised in correspondence (details supplied) in relation to those who cannot take second dose of a vaccine due to a health condition; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36998/21]
2220. To ask the Minister for Health his proposals to address cases whereby a citizen has received one dose of a Covid-19 vaccination (details supplied) but due to a negative reaction has been medically advised not to receive the second dose; if provision will be made for a different vaccine to be administered for the second dose; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37000/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 2218 and 2220 together.
Ireland’s COVID-19 vaccination programme strategy is to distribute all available vaccines as quickly as is operationally possible, prioritising those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19. The programme is based on the principles of safety, effectiveness and fairness, with the objective of reducing severe illness, hospitalisations and deaths from COVID-19 infection.
The immunisation programme in Ireland is based on the advice of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC). The Committee's recommendations are based on the prevalence of the relevant disease in Ireland and international best practices in relation to immunisation. It makes recommendations on vaccination policy to my Department. The NIAC review all data relating to COVID-19 vaccines on a rolling basis. Following the recommendation for use of vaccines against COVID-19 by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and authorisation for use by the European Commission, the NIAC develops guidance for their use in Ireland which is contained in the Immunisation Guidelines for Ireland. These guidelines are continuously updated and include guidance on all new vaccines as they are approved for use in Ireland.
The current Guidelines state: There are currently four COVID-19 Vaccines authorised for use in Ireland. The vaccines are not interchangeable. For vaccines that have a two-dose schedule, the same vaccine should be used for both doses.
You can read the guidelines at: www.hse.ie/eng/health/immunisation/hcpinfo/guidelines/covid19.pdf
There is insufficient evidence to recommend a change from the authorised two-dose Vaxzevria® schedule or to support giving an mRNA vaccine instead of the second dose of Vaxzevria®. There is a need for further evidence on the safety and effectiveness of mixed (heterologous)vaccine schedules. Further information is expected in the coming months which may warrant an update of these recommendations.