(10 February) Age Action, Ireland’s leading advocacy organisation for older people is calling for the Government to review the use of vaccines for people over the age of 70 following the recommendation of WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) for the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in people over the age of 18 without an upper age limit.
Age Action applauds the HSE and GPs who have mobilised resources to begin administering the preferred mRNA vaccines on time to people over the age of 70 but the completion date will be delayed by at least two weeks because of the complicated process and the fact that stocks are being drawn from 2 vaccines rather than 3.
Paddy Connolly, CEO Age Action said ‘‘Every day lost leads to loss of life of older people. AstraZeneca was not taken off the table for use in people over the age of 65 by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee. They clearly stated the best vaccine to administer to the older population is the one that can be soonest administered. Age Action understands that the mRNA vaccines cannot be transported onwards after they have reached GPs which means they are not suitable in situations where people are bedbound or housebound. This makes the AstraZeneca vaccine the best available option for that group of people.’
Connolly continued ‘We appreciate that the information on vaccines, and AstraZeneca, is incomplete and fluid, but we should move with urgency when new information comes to light. The Government must move swiftly to review how the 3 vaccines approved for use in Ireland are being administered to older people. The priority of NPHET has been to save lives, protect medically vulnerable people and relieve pressure on the health system and this must continue to be our collective priority.’