MANILA — The Department of Health will issue a guideline before the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on people under 60 years old resumes, it said Monday.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire issued the statement after the Food and Drug Administration recommended to again allow those below 60 years old to receive the COVID-19 vaccine candidate of AstraZeneca.
“Doon sa binigay na rekomendasyon ng Food and Drug Administration, sinabi nga n'ya itutuloy ulit natin ulit because yun ang sinabi ng mga eksperto - the benefits outweigh the risk,” Vergeire said during a virtual briefing.
(On the recommendation given by the Food and Drug Administration, we are continuing it because as the experts have said, the benefits outweigh the risk.)
Vergeire pointed out that the percentage of the population affected by the reported adverse events in the form of blood clots was very small.
“Sabi nya (FDA) sa rekomendasyon n'ya, kailangan lang magkaroon ng extra precautions at nagbanggit s'ya ng iba’t ibang circumstance,” Vergeire said.
(The FDA said in its recommendations that there should only be extra precautions, and it cited different circumstances.)
She said these include taking note of the medicines that vaccine recipients take, such as blood thinners.
Vergeire said all medical precautions will be included in the guidelines they are crafting.
In a text message, the health official told ABS-CBN News that the vaccination for the said age group may only resume once they have released the guidelines.
The FDA last week said it has received unanimous recommendations from the World Health Organizations and local experts that AstraZeneca is more beneficial than risky.
The agency also said it had not received any reports of blood clots in the Philippines.
A vaccine expert said in a previous article that the reported blood clot side effect so far has happened in 4 cases out of a million vaccine recipients.
The Philippines halted the use of AstraZeneca for those under 60 years old in early April due to reports from abroad that women below the said age had experienced blood clots after taking the said vaccine.
The country has received 525,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine through the COVAX Facility. As of April 6, the government has administered 493,688 of those.
The other supply of COVID-19 vaccine in the country is from Sinovac, totaling 2.5 million doses.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Monday that as of 6 p.m. of April 18, a total of 1,279,223 doses of the vaccine have been administered as first dose, and 198,534 as second dose.
The government aims to inoculate up to 70 million people to achieve herd immunity against the coronavirus.