DOH oks resumption of AstraZeneca jabs
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday said it had come up with guidelines on the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in accordance with a recommendation last month by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Early in April, the FDA recommended a pause in the use of the vaccine “among those below 60 years old,” FDA Director-General Eric Domingo said in a press briefing.
By mid-April, the agency gave its go-ahead on the continued use of the AstraZeneca vaccine on all eligible vaccine recipients, but only after the DOH released guidelines to help mitigate any risks.
The new guidelines call for all vaccination sites to strengthen their postvaccination surveillance in order to spot possible adverse events following immunization.
Further, all health workers in vaccination sites will be trained to detect and manage possible symptoms of blood clots, or vaccine-induced thrombosis and thrombocytopenia (VITT), and refer them to the appropriate health facility.
Earlier, there were reports in some countries that a number of vaccine recipients in the below-60 years old category experienced VITT after being inoculated with AstraZeneca.
In a statement, the DOH said “there are currently no known risk factors for VITT and that the benefits of receiving the vaccine against COVID-19 still outweigh the risk.”
In a statement, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said the resumption of the AstraZeneca vaccine for all age groups was a huge boost in vaccination efforts.
Concepcion also said members of the private sector expect their 2 million jabs from AstraZeneca to arrive this month.
An initial 525,600 doses of AstraZeneca from the COVAX global vaccine pool arrived in the country on March 4. But Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said last month that these doses had run out. Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Wednesday that 1 million doses of AstraZeneca and 1.3 million doses of Pfizer were due to arrive this month.
—WITH A REPORT FROM ROY STEPHEN C. CANIVEL
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