Concepcion welcomes decision on AstraZeneca vaccines
A file photo taken on February 6, 2021 shows a box containing vials of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at the Foch hospital in Suresnes, on the start of a vaccination campaign for health workers with the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine. The World Health Organization gave emergency use approval to AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccines on February 15, 2021, allowing distribution to some of the world's poorest countries to begin. "The WHO today listed two versions of the AstraZeneca-Oxford Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use, giving the green light for these vaccines to be rolled out globally through Covax," a WHO statement said, referring to the programme aimed at equitable distribution of inoculations.
AFP/Alain Jocard

Concepcion welcomes decision on AstraZeneca vaccines

Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - April 20, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential adviser for entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion lauded yesterday the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for changing its position on the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine by recommending the resumption of its use on individuals below 60, as approved by the Department of Health (DOH).

The use of AstraZeneca was temporarily suspended over reports of rare blood clots in younger recipients overseas.

“This is good news for us, the private sector and the LGUs, who ordered a total of 17 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines. We are glad that the FDA changed its position and allowed the Astrazeneca vaccine to be used by individuals 18 years old and above,” Concepcion said.

“This decision is vital for us because the majority of the economic frontliners, both from the LGU and the private sector, are within the formerly restricted age, below 60. It definitely has a significant impact for most of us, especially for our economy – having to allow the working population to be vaccinated,” he pointed out.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire announced the lifting of the suspension at a news conference.

“The benefit outweighs the risk. Only a small percentage of the population had these adverse effects for AstraZeneca,” Vergeire told a regular news conference, referring to the countries where blood clots were reported.

“They were unanimous that for the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, its overall benefit outweighs the known and potential risks,” FDA director general Eric Domingo stated.

Go Negosyo is leading the private sector in the implementation of a nationwide vaccine drive. It expects the first arrival of vaccines ordered by the private sector by the first week of June.

“We have also signed recently an agreement with Zuellig Pharma Corp. as our official storage and distribution partner in different locations nationwide. The private sector will also pay for its administration fee, including the ones we donated to the government for our frontliners,” Concepcion said.

“We need every help that we can get to combat this pandemic and I thank the FDA and the DOH for clarifying the confusion on this matter. Now, what we need is the help from our Filipino people,” he explained.

“We need them to be vaccinated for their loved ones, community, work place and for our country. We need every qualified Filipino to be vaccinated as it is the only way that we can attain herd immunity. By attaining this, we could further open our economy and make lives and livelihood prosper in the process,” Concepcion added.

The Philippines has yet to record blood clots as side effect. It suspended the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine for under 60s on April 8.

The Philippines has received 525,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine through the COVAX international vaccine-share facility. More than 900,000 more were to be shipped in May or June, according to health ministry data.

Vaccines from China’s Sinovac Biotech account for 83 percent of doses so far delivered to the Philippines.

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