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Philippines suspends use of AstraZeneca jab for people under 60

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The Philippines, on Thursday, temporarily suspended the use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine for those younger than 60 following reports from abroad of rare blood clots in some recipients.

The country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) called the suspension a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of every Filipino.

The FDA noted that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has now recommended that blood clots be listed as a very rare side effect of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Several European countries and Canada have also put age restrictions in place due to a handful of blood clot cases reported in younger people.

“While we have not seen such incidents in the country, the FDA has recommended to temporarily suspend the use of the vaccine for persons below 60 years old as we await results of the review being done by our local experts, as well as the official guidance of the WHO (World Health Organisation),’’ FDA Director-General, Eric Domingo, said.

The Philippines had received an initial shipment of 525,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine through the WHO-COVAX facility.

It is the second vaccine brand delivered to the Philippines; the other is Sinovac from China.

As of April 6, nearly 923,000 doses of both Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines have been administered across the country.

The Philippines reported 9,216 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the total cases to 828,366 with 14,119 fatalities.

Meanwhile, Malaysia could reconsider using the AstraZeneca jab, the minister in charge of the country’s inoculation programme said on Thursday.

Responding to the EMA assessment, Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Khairy Jamaluddin, said the government’s vaccination committee “will deliberate on the matter and decide if we will go ahead with using AZ in our portfolio of vaccines’’. (Dpa/NAN)


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