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FILE PHOTO: Vials labelled “Astra Zeneca COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine” and a syringe are seen in front of a displayed AstraZeneca logo, in this illustration photo taken March 14, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland on Tuesday lifted restrictions on giving AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine to adults aged under 50 and reduced the recommended gap between doses from eight weeks to four.

Curbs on the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for under-50s have also been dropped, the government said in a statement.

Ireland restricted use of both vaccines in April due to concerns about rare incidences of blood clotting in younger people after taking the vaccines.

Government officials have indicated in recent days that concerns about the Delta coronavirus variant have changed the risk assessment picture.

People under 50 will be offered the choice of an alternative vaccine from either Pfizer or Moderna, which are not associated with the same side effects, but may have to wait longer for that option, the government said.

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