MANILA - Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said on Wednesday that he saw no need to stop the rollout of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine in the Philippines, after some European countries suspended its use due to reports of blood clotting in some recipients.
In an interview on ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo, Duque said there is no evidence yet that directly links the vaccine to blood clotting.
“Hindi muna tayo titigil pero tuloy-tuloy yung imbestigasyon na isinasagawa,” the health official said, noting that he already met with representatives from AstraZeneca in the United States and in Asia on the matter.
(We will not stop for now but we will continue investigating it.)
“Sa kanilang assessment ng causality, ‘yung pag-aaral ng [kung yun] ba ang dahilan ng pamumuo ng dugo o yung embolism ay dahil… doon ba sa bakuna, wala silang makita na ebidensya na maiuugnay ‘yung bakuna doon sa thrombosis,” he explained.
(According to their assessment on causality, the study which wants to prove whether the vaccine caused the embolism, they did not see any evidence that would link their vaccine to thrombosis.)
Authorities in Ireland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland have suspended the use of the vaccine, while Austria stopped using a batch of AstraZeneca shots last week while investigating a death from coagulation disorders.
Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion, meanwhile, has allayed fears on the vaccine.
He said the number of persons inoculated with the firm's vaccine in Europe and the UK with increased risk of blood clots is "below the normal", citing a statement from AstraZeneca.
Duque said vaccinations should continue, whatever brand it should be, as the benefits would outweigh the risks. It would also provide individuals protection from coronavirus.
The Philippines has so far received 525,600 doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine through the COVAX Facility.
The government plans to inoculate up to 70 million Filipinos by the end of the year to achieve herd immunity against the coronavirus.