Countries in the European Union have halted their rollouts of the AstraZeneca vaccine following reports of blood clots and deaths after inoculation.
These countries include Austria, where the vaccine reportedly caused deaths due to coagulation disorders and pulmonary embolisms and Denmark, where death was caused by blood clots. Italy has also ordered a recall of the vaccine after two recipients in Sicily died after getting vaccinated.
After Norway and Iceland temporarily stopped vaccinations while these effects of the AstraZeneca jab were being investigated, Estonia, Lithuania, Romania, Latvia and Luxembourg followed suit.
The Netherlands is the latest nation to suspend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Drug regulator European Medicines Agency, however, said that the vaccine’s benefit far outweighed the risks and should be continued. They also said that there was nothing to suggest that the vaccine caused such events, a view shared by the World Health Organization.
AstraZeneca Plc responded, saying that there was no evidence that their vaccine increased risk of blood clots. They said that there were 15 incidents of deep vein thrombosis and 22 events of pulmonary embolism reported, figures similar to other authorized Covid vaccines.
The company also said that additional testing is being done, the results of which have not shown cause for concern.
In the Philippines, the Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration has continued administering the AstraZeneca jab despite these developments. The country has received 525,600 doses of the drug, with some 4.5 million more slated to arrive in May.
As of last week, over 20 adverse reactions were noted, which include difficulty breathing and shortness of breath. Of this number, 20 were inoculated with CoronaVac and one with AstraZeneca.
According to health undersecretary Rosario Vergeire, 957 others experienced non-serious effects such as muscle pain, tenderness at the injection site, fever, high blood pressure and rashes. Of this figure, 872 received CoronaVac while 85 received AstraZeneca.
Vergeire added that side effects were to be expected and should not be feared.