The Philippine Department of Health suspended the use of AstraZeneca Covid-19 jab for people under the age of 60 on Thursday following reports of blood clots abroad.
It is in the midst of a record surge in coronavirus infection, forcing more than 24 million people to be blocked in the capital and surrounding states.
AstraZeneca’s vaccine was completely banned in some places because of fear of blood clots, and then the use of the vaccine in young people was stopped in some European countries.
EU drug regulators said Wednesday’s blood clots should be listed as a rare side effect of jabs, but profits continue to outweigh the risks.
“There are no such cases in the country, but the FDA recommends that people under the age of 60 be temporarily suspended from using the vaccine to wait for the results of reviews by local experts and official guidance. “WHO,” said Eric Domingo, director of the Food and Drug Administration.
The Philippines has received about 2.5 million Covid-19 vaccines so far, most of them from China’s Sinovac.
Also, according to official data, there are 525,600 doses of AstraZeneca throughout the Covax program, most of which have already been administered.
The country expects another 3 million doses of AstraZeneca in the coming months.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s government has been skewered by critics about efforts to deal with pandemics and secure vaccines.
The 2.5 million doses received so far represent just a small portion of the shots Manila is negotiating with seven manufacturers to secure.
Most of the supply is not expected until later this year.
However, challenges are not limited to inventory.
Even after the country first introduced the dengue vaccine Dengvaxia in 2016, public confidence in the vaccine remains low.
The unsuccessful deployment led to unfounded claims that dozens of children died in jabs, and a recent study showed that about 60 percent of the population did not want to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
In a statement, Domingo said, “I would like to emphasize that this suspension does not mean that the vaccine is unsafe or ineffective. This is a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of all Filipinos. It means that we are taking steps. “
The World Health Organization’s Western Pacific office on Wednesday endorsed the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the region.
“Available data do not suggest an overall increase in coagulation status in the vaccinated population compared to the general population,” WHO Essential Medicines Coordinator Sokoro Escalante told reporters. ..
The European Medicines Agency has investigated 86 cases of blood clots out of approximately 25 million people in Europe who have been vaccinated with AstraZeneca. Eighteen of them were deadly. Most cases were women under the age of 60.
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