THE Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday, April 8, 2021, adopted the recommendation of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to suspend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for adults below 60 years old in the wake of reports linking it to blood clots and low platelet counts.
However, the public should not worry about the development.
Department of Health (DOH) 7 spokesperson Dr. Mary Jean Loreche said people should wait until the FDA and other experts complete the study they are conducting on the matter.
“With this advisory, I would not say that we shouldn’t be afraid because everybody will always have that fear,” she said in a mix of Cebuano and English. “Believe me, because this (AstraZeneca) has been approved. This has been validated. The risk may be very, very small, but it’s the benefit that we are looking after.”
FDA Director General Rolando Enrique Domingo also emphasized that the suspension does not mean the vaccine is unsafe or ineffective against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
“It just means that we are taking precautionary measures to ensure the safety of every Filipino. We continue to underscore that the benefits of vaccination continue to outweigh the risks and we urge everyone to get vaccinated when it’s their turn,” he said in a statement.
He urged those eligible to receive the vaccine — health care workers, senior citizens and persons with comorbidities — to get it.
Domingo said they took note of the recommendation of the European Medicines Agency to list blood clots as very rare side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“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 Organization),” Domingo said.
To date, the National Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) Committee has not received any local reports of such side effects.