Philippines to resume use of AstraZeneca shots for those under 60
Boxes containing vials of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine are pictured at the pharmacy of the Sant'Andrea hospital in Vercelli, Piedmont, on April 15, 2021.
AFP/Marco Bertorello

Philippines to resume use of AstraZeneca shots for those under 60

Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - April 19, 2021 - 3:21pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines will resume the use of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca for people below 60 years old in its vaccination program, the Department of Health said Monday.

The agency approved the recommendation of the country’s Food and Drug Administration to continue using AstraZeneca jabs, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a briefing.

“On the recommendation given by the FDA, it said we will continue the use [of the vaccine] since it was recommended by experts because the benefits outweigh the risks,” Vergeire said in Filipino.

The department will issue guidelines to include additional precautions to be taken when administering the jab, the health official said as she stressed the cases of blood clots were seen in a very small portion of the people who received it.

In a statement on April 8, the DOH and the FDA announced the temporary suspension of the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for people under the age of 60 after the European Medicine Agency found that blood clotting combined with low platelet count is a potential, although “very rare” side effect of the jab.

There is no reported case of unusual blood clots among the recipients of AstraZeneca shots in the country, authorities said. 

Some 525,600 AstraZeneca vaccine doses—donation from COVAX Facility—had been delivered last March. But there are no AstraZeneca shots available at the moment.

More AstraZeneca doses from COVAX may arrive in the country next month.

To date, the Philippines has administered over 1.45 million doses. Some 1.26 million people have received first doses, while 191,982 health workers have been given second doses.

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