Philippines temporarily stops giving AstraZeneca shots to those under 60

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Philippines temporarily stops giving AstraZeneca shots to those under 60
A pharmacist prepares a dose of the AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine with a syringe in a pharmacy, in Savenay, western France, on April 2, 2021.
AFP / Loic Venance

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 2:25 p.m.) — The Philippines is temporarily stopping administering AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccines to those under 60 after the European Medicine Agency (EMA) found that blood clotting combined with low platelet count is a potential, although “very rare,” side effect of the shot.

The Department of Health (DOH) heeded Thursday the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recommendation to halt vaccinations using AstraZeneca pending further evidence and advice from local experts and the World Health Organization.

The EMA said Wednesday that it found a possible link between very rare cases of blood clotting with low platelet count and getting the AstraZeneca shot. 

The EMA said that most of these cases were reported among women under 60 years of age within two weeks of vaccination.

Despite finding this link, the EMA said that the benefits of getting the AstraZeneca coronavirus jab outweighs the risks of side effects.

In a joint statement, the DOH and the FDA echoed this, saying that the national committee on adverse events following immunization have not received reports of blood clotting and low platelet count after getting the AstraZeneca shot.

“I want to emphasize that this temporary suspension does not mean that the vaccine is unsafe or ineffective—it just means that we are taking precautionary measures to ensure the safety of every Filipino,” FDA Director General Eric Domingo said in a statement.

Earlier Thursday, Domingo said on state-run People’s Television that there are hardly any AstraZeneca vaccines left anyway, and that the next batch of the jab are expected next month, which would give them enough time to study the shot.

“That will give us time to study the evidence and to see kung magkakaroon po tayo ng panibagong (if we will have a new) guidance sa paggamit ng (on the use of) AstraZeneca vaccine,” he said.

AstraZeneca is one of four coronavirus vaccines given emergency use authorization by the FDA, along with the jabs of Pfizer/BioNTech, Sinovac and Gamaleya.






As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: January 4, 2022 - 9:06am

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)

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.

November 7, 2021 - 11:57am

A Department of the Interior and Local Government proposal to require Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries to get vaccinated before cash transfers to them can be released will not help the poor, Sen. Risa Hontiveros says.

"Walang kundisyon sa 4Ps law na kailangang COVID-19 vaccinated ang recipients kaya dapat igalang at irespeto ng ating mga opisyal ang desisyon ng sinuman ukol sa pagbabakuna," she says. 

(The 4Ps Law does not include the condition that recipients must be vaccinated against COVID-19 so the government must respect people's decision to get vaccinated or not)

She says it would be better for government agencues like the social welfare and health departments to encourage 4Ps beneficiaries to get vaccinated but not as a condition to receive cash aid.

Hontiveros says encouragement and explanations have helped address vaccine hesitancy in Metro Manila.

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