Philippines sees 'no reason' to halt rollout of AstraZeneca COVID-19 jabs

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Philippines sees 'no reason' to halt rollout of AstraZeneca COVID-19 jabs
This picture shows vials of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine and a syringe in Paris on March 11, 2021.
AFP / Joel Saget

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines will continue to use the COVID-19 vaccine developed by British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca, health authorities said Friday after several countries suspended its use due to concerns over blood clots.

Denmark, Iceland and Norway halted AstraZeneca vaccinations over fears the shot could be linked to blood clots. As a precaution, Italy banned a batch of the vaccine even as its drug regulator said there was currently no established connection with the alleged side effects.

In a statement, the Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration said there is “no reason” to halt the use of AstraZeneca vaccine in the country as benefits of vaccination continue to outweigh risks.

“At present, the DOH and FDA emphasize that there is no indication for the Philippines to stop rollout of AstraZeneca vaccines,” the agencies said in a joint release.

“The DOH, NTF and FDA are closely coordinating on this matter. The public is assured they will closely monitor all deployed vaccines,” they added.

What happened?

Austria announced Monday it had suspended the use of a particular AstraZeneca batch after a 49-year-old nurse died of severe blood coagulation days after receiving a shot. Other countries followed suit.

The administration of shots was halted as a precautionary measure while a full investigation is ongoing.

The European Medicines Agency said there is no indication that the vaccine caused these conditions.

“The position of EMA’s safety committee Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee is that the vaccine’s benefits can continue to outweigh its risks and the vaccine can continue to be administered while investigation of cases of thromboembolic events is ongoing,” it said.

AstraZeneca rollout

Last week, the government began administering AstraZeneca shots, obtained through the COVAX Facility, to health workers. More doses of the vaccine from the World Health Organization-led initiative are expected to arrive in the country.

Many local governments and private firms also signed supply deals with the manufacturer to distribute to their constituents and employees.

The emergency use authorization issued by the country’s FDA cleared the jab for use in individuals aged 18 and above.

The AstraZeneca shot, developed in partnership with the University of Oxford, was found to be 70% effective on average. — with report from Agence France-Presse

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: September 3, 2021 - 11:37am

The national government has so far secured two official deals for COVID-19 vaccine supplies in the Philippines, one with Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac and another with the Serum Institute of India.

Watch this space for bite-sized developments on the vaccines in the Philippines. (Main image by Markus Spiske via Unsplash)

September 3, 2021 - 11:37am

FDA Director General Eric Domingo says they have granted emergency use authorization approval for Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to be used in those aged 12-17 years old.

August 19, 2021 - 7:17pm

Under fire for its fumbled start in procuring Covid vaccines, South Africa now has plentiful jabs but faces a new challenge: tepid uptake.

With thousands of new infections and hundreds of deaths each day, South Africa has the biggest coronavirus tally of any country on the continent — more than 2.6 million cases in a population of 58 million.

The authorities have come in for hefty criticism for their vaccine strategy. In February, at a crucial point in the pandemic, the country notably turned down one and a half million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine over doubts that it would protect against a then-dominant local variant of the virus.

Since then, the government has secured tens of millions of shots, and South Africa even became the first nation in Africa to produce Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer jabs.

The goal is to vaccinate 70 percent of its adult population, or 28 million people, by end of the year. — AFP

August 9, 2021 - 8:01pm

The government of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao has launched a web portal for constituents to register for vaccination against COVID-19, the Bangsamoro Information Office announces.

Dr. Bashary Latiph, health minister, says the portal (https://covid19.bangsamoro.gov.phis a result of the collaboration of the members of the Bangsamoro Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19.

The website shows also shows updated statistics of the region's vaccination efforts and information on COVID-19 cases.

The BARMM has fully vaccinated 144,153 individuals — 91,282 of them with the single-dose Janssen vaccine — the information office says.

August 5, 2021 - 8:50am

People have been flocking to malls in the city of Manila that have been designated as vaccination centers. According to reports by ABS-CBN News, some had lined up overnight to get a vaccination slot only to be told in the morning that not everyone will be accomodated.

Residents of Las Piñas also started lining up in the early morning of Thursday in the hopes of getting a vaccine dose, ABS-CBN News also reports. 

August 3, 2021 - 8:27pm

Half of the population of the European Union has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, according to an AFP tally Tuesday, putting it ahead of the United States in the inoculation drive.

Nearly 224 million people across the 27 member states have been covered, with Spain leading the pack of larger countries with 58.3 percent of its population vaccinated, followed by Italy (54.4 percent), France (52.9) and Germany (52.2).

The figures mean Europe has now nosed ahead of the US in the vaccine drive. — AFP

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