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Following the reports of blood clots among recipients of AstraZeneca vaccine, the Philippines halted the distribution of the British-Swedish COVID-19 jabs among individuals under 60 years old.
In a statement, the Department of health (DOH) said it adopted the recommendation of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to pause the use of AstraZeneca jabs.
FDA Chief Eric Domingo said that while there has not been an incident of blood clots in the country, the agency recommended to wait official guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO) and review from local experts before continuing the distribution of the shots.
“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,” Domingo said.
The chief also stressed that the benefits of getting the vaccine still outweighed the risk. He likewise urged the public to get vaccinated.
Earlier, an official from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said that there is a link between AstraZeneca vaccines and rare cases of blood clots, albeit the cause is still unclear.
Some European nations including France, Germany, and the Netherlands have also paused the use of AstraZeneca vaccines following the reports.