The Philippines will continue to administer the AstraZeneca (AZN.L) COVID-19 vaccine to people under the age of 60, health officials said Monday, lifting a temporary suspension due to reports of rare blood clots in younger recipients abroad.
“The benefits outweigh the risks. Only a small percentage of the population has had these detrimental effects for AstraZeneca,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told a regular news conference, referring to countries where blood clots have been reported.
Health authorities will publish guidelines that include various precautions when using AstraZeneca injections, Vergeire added.
The European Medicines Agency has previously recommended that blood clots be included as a rare side effect of AstraZeneca.
The country of Southeast Asia has not yet recorded the formation of blood clots as a side effect. She stopped using AstraZeneca vaccine for children under 60 on April 8. Read more
The Philippines, a country of 108 million people, is battling one of the worst epidemics in Asia, but has administered less than 1.5 million injections of COVID-19 vaccine, 86% of which was the first dose.
It recorded 936,133 cases of COVID-19 and 15,960 deaths due to the virus.
The Philippines received 525,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine through the international vaccine distribution facility COVAX. According to the health ministry, more than 900,000 should be shipped in May or June.
Vaccines from the Chinese Sinovac Biotech (SVA.O) account for 83% of the doses delivered to the Philippines so far.
Our standards: Thomson Reuters’ principles of trust.