THE Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has advised the Department of Health (DoH) to temporarily halt the use of the vaccine manufactured by British-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca to persons below 60 years old.
The recommendation comes after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced on Wednesday that it has found “possible links” between the AZD1222 vaccine and blood clots in 16 reported cases across Europe.
The EMA has pointed out that the clots were a “very rare side effect” of the vaccine and that taking the vaccine remained beneficial.
According to FDA Director-General Rolando Enrique Domingo, the National Adverse Effects Following Immunization Committee (NAEFIC) has not yet received reports of possible platelet and thrombotic issues among those who had been inoculated with the vaccine in the country.
Domingo added that with the EMA recommendation disallowing the use of vaccines to women aged 60 years old and below, they have asked the DoH to follow that advice pending a more thorough investigation.
“We have asked the DoH na kung may natitira pang (if there are still some) AstraZeneca vaccine (left), siguro ay wag muna nating gamitin sa mga (perhaps, it would be better not to give it to those) below 60 years old so we get clearer evidence and clearer guidelines from the WHO (World Health Organization),” Domingo told a Laging Handa briefing on Thursday.
Domingo added that the delay in the delivery of the vaccine would also be helpful to study the evidence and make new recommendations on its use.
The country expects more than 900,000 doses of the AZD1222 vaccine through the Covax Facility in May, as well as additional shots procured through the private sector in the third quarter of the year.