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: August 23, 2022 - 10:12am

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)

August 23, 2022 - 10:12am

Amid questions on vaccines being administered, the Department of Health assures the public all doses are safe and effective as the “process of extending shelf life goes through thorough stability studies.”

“The government ensures that every vaccine that is injected with an extended shelf life has gone through studies, and is still safe and effective against COVID-19,” it adds.

January 4, 2022 - 9:06am

Government must increase vaccination capacity across the Philippines in anticipation of a surge of COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant of the corona virus, Sen. Risa Hontiveros says.

She says local government units and the private sector can work together to put up more vaccination centers and deploy more vaccination teams to get more people inoculated against COVID-19.

"The active COVID cases have nearly doubled in three days. The positivity rate is almost four times the ceiling set by the World Health Organization. Huwag na nating hintayin na sobrang lumala pa ang sitwasyon bago tayo gumawa ng paraan para mapabilis ang ating pagbabakuna."

December 23, 2021 - 11:44am

FDA chief Eric Domingo says that its agency has given emergency approval for the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.

November 11, 2021 - 7:30am

The United States immunized around 900,000 children aged five-to-11 against Covid in the first week the Pfizer vaccine was authorized for them, a White House official says Wednesday.

Roughly 700,000 more have made appointments at pharmacies, White House Covid coordinator Jeff Zients tells reporters.

"The program is just getting up to full strength," he says, adding most of the shots were given in the last couple of days alone. — AFP

November 8, 2021 - 7:56pm

The Philippines has received 2.8 million doses of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccines from Russia.

The shipment arrived at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City on Monday night and was met by President Rodrigo Duterte himself.

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