Request to NIAC on AstraZeneca gap needed from government
27 May 2021
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Northern Ireland
- Why hasn’t Minister for Health asked NIAC yet?
With a NIAC letter showing they are keeping the gap between doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine under review, Labour Party Leader Alan Kelly has called again on the government to submit a formal request for a review after the Health Minister wasn’t clear in the Dáil today.
Deputy Kelly said:
“We need to know why the Minister for Health hasn’t asked yet for NIAC to review the dosing gap of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The Minister implied in the Dáil today when questioned about it that all our expected delivery of doses are already committed so shortening the gap would not be possible. He did not address the substantive question of whether NIAC would review the evidence from the Public Health England study that has caused so much concern with people in the 60-69 aged cohort and their families, and the increasing incidence of the new variant that is causing such concern.
“What is clear from the NIAC letter published this evening is that they are keeping the situation under review.
“I have raised this issue of the dosing gap now twice at Leader’s Questions. There is significant public concern about it as the first dose of Astra Zeneca only provides 33% protection against the new Indian variant.
“I am not an expert on the matter, but I am calling again on the government to make a formal request to NIAC to review this and make a recommendation. Those in the 60-69 age cohort and others who received AstraZeneca will be waiting at least 12 weeks for their second shot. They are worried and their families are worried. Getting advice from the experts would help.
“These people waiting for their second dose, are likely to be the most vulnerable, will have to wait the longest to be fully vaccinated and are at risk from new variants.
“That’s why I am asking the Government to please ask NIAC to discuss this matter and make a recommendation.”