Philippines OKs use of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for those below 60

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 07 2021 03:09 PM

Philippines OKs use of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for those below 60 1
A box of AstraZeneca's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine is pictured in Berlin, Germany, March 16, 2021. Hannibal Hanschke, Reuters

MANILA - The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday said local governments may resume the use of AstraZeneca vaccines on individuals aged below 60, saying there have been no reports of post-vaccination blood clotting in the Philippines.

The DOH earlier suspended the use of the European-made vaccines on Filipinos below 60 after several countries reported incidents or blood clotting after using AstraZeneca's COVID-19 jabs.

"To date, no local VITT (vaccine-induced thrombosis and thrombocytopenia) events have been confirmed," the DOH said in a statement.

"It was concluded that there are currently no known risk factors for VITT and that the benefits of receiving the vaccine against COVID-19 still outweighs the risk," it said.

VITT is a very rare condition of blood clots associated with low platelet counts that can occur 4 to 28 days after receiving a viral vector vaccine such as AstraZeneca's COVID-19 shot.

While post-vaccination blood clotting is rare, the DOH issued guidelines "so that the risks can be mitigated."

"All vaccination sites should have a strengthened post-vaccination surveillance to spot possible adverse events following immunization," the agency said.

"All health care workers in vaccination sites will be trained to detect and manage possible symptoms of VITT and refer them accordingly to the appropriate health facility for definitive work-up and management," it said.

The announcement comes a day before 2 million AstraZeneca jabs from the COVAX facility were expected to reach the Philippines.

The country is set to receive another 1.3 million doses from AstraZeneca in June through orders of private firms.

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