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FDA recommends continued use of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chief Eric Domingo on Thursday said he has recommended that the Philippines continue to use AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine after experts reviewed it amid blood clot concerns.

“Sumulat ako kanina kay [Health] Secretary [Francisco] Duque para sabihin sa kanya, reiterate the benefit outweighs risk and we should continue using the vaccine,” he said in a Palace briefing.

(I wrote to Health Secretary Francisco Duque to tell him, to reiterate that the benefit outweighs risk and we should continue using the vaccine.)

Last week, the Philippines temporarily suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine on people younger than 60 upon the recommendation of the FDA as a precautionary measure following reports of rare blood clots in recipients abroad. 

Domingo said the World Health Organization, Philippine Vaccine Expert Panel, and the adverse events committee were “unanimous” in saying that the AstraZeneca vaccine’s overall benefit outweighs the known and potential risks.

“Dito sa atin wala pang nakita yung adverse events committee natin na similar cases. Pero sa Europa at saka sa ibang parte ng mundo, nakita na very rare naman ito,” he explained.

(Here in the Philippines, our adverse events committee has not seen similar cases but in Europe and other parts of the world, it was seen that it is very rare.)

Domingo said the rare blood clots occurred in about 1 out of 1 million recipients.

Over a million people in the Philippines have received either the Sinovac or AstraZeneca vaccine as of April 13. 

The country has logged 892,880 COVID-19 cases with 704,386 recoveries and 15,447 deaths as of Wednesday afternoon. —KBK, GMA News