EPA/Dan Himbrechts

Gov’t maintains plans to receive Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines despite safety doubts

Health authorities are closely following health concerns surrounding the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine but still maintain plans to receive 400,000 doses of the vaccine.

Last month, more than a dozen countries suspended their use of AstraZeneca over the blood clot issue, with restarting vaccination with some with age restrictions after the EMA said the benefits of the vaccine outweighed the risks of not inoculating people against COVID-19.

The Head of the European Medicines Agency health threats and vaccine strategy, Marco Cavaleri, said in an interview published Tuesday there is a causal link between AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine and rare blood clots, but that it’s still unclear what the connection is and the benefits of taking the vaccine outweigh the risks of getting COVID-19.

At the moment the EU medicines regulator is preparing to make a more definitive statement this week, as the mentioned adverse effects remain rare.

In the UK, where the vaccine was developed, as of March 24, a total of 30 events had occurred resulting in seven deaths from 18.1 million doses of vaccine, while in Germany, there was one event of cerebral venous thrombosis for every 46,512 women vaccinated.

The batch of AstraZeneca vaccines destined for Macau SAR is scheduled to only be delivered to the city by “the third quarter” this year, with the city having currently available Sinopharm and BioNTech vaccines.

“According to the World Health Organization guidelines, the vaccine does not have a direct link with thromboembolism cases. We will follow any studies on the matter but as of now we maintain the Astrazenaca supply plan,” Tai stated.