DOH suspends AstraZeneca vaccine jabs on people aged below 60
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) adopted on Thursday the recommendation of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to temporarily suspend the use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine for individuals aged below 60, following reports on “rare cases” of blood clots with low platelets in some individuals who have received the vaccine.
“We are aware of the recommendation of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to list blood clots as very rare side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine,” FDA Director General Eric Domingo said in a statement issued by DOH.
He said that while the country has not seen such incidents, the FDA has recommended to temporarily suspend the use of the vaccine for those below 60 years old as authorities await results of the review being done by local experts and the guidance of the World Health Organization.
“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,” he added.
Domingo also noted that the rare side effect was so far observed only after the administration of the first dose.
“So if nothing happened after the first dose then no problem sa (on the) second dose. This is very rare but it will be included in the things to watch out for, so we have to review the data and prepare before the next batch of vaccines come,” he said.
He assured that the review for the AstraZeneca vaccine will be completed before the scheduled administration of the second shots.
Earlier in the day, Domingo said the FDA has recommended to temporarily suspend the administration of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on people below 60 years old after a link between the vaccine and so-called very rare blood clot events in the brain (cerebral venous sinus thrombosis or CVST) has been found by a European study.
However, Domingo said the government maintains that the benefits of vaccination continue to outweigh the risks and urged everyone to get vaccinated when it’s their turn.
The National Task Force against COVID-19 and the DOH also reiterated that vaccination is safe and free, and urged senior citizens and persons with comorbidities to receive the available vaccines from their local government units to acquire the protection it provides.
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