Thailand suspends Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine rollout over blood clot reports

Bangkok, Mar 12 (efe-epa).- Thailand postponed its Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine rollout on Friday after a number of European countries suspended theirs over reports of blood clots.

A suspension for two weeks was announced at a press conference in which Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha was expected to get the first dose, followed by ministers.

“We need to delay the vaccination with AstraZeneca,” said the Thai government adviser on Covid-19 vaccination, Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn, who added the decision was made after the temporary suspension announced in Denmark to follow the investigation by that country.

Other countries such as Vietnam, Australia and the Philippines have decided to continue using the vaccine produced jointly by British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.

Danish authorities on Thursday announced the suspension for 14 days of the drug “after reports of severe cases of blood clots,” including one death.

Subsequently, other countries such as Italy, Norway and Iceland took similar measures as a precaution, although others such as Spain and the United Kingdom continue to rely on it.

The European Medicines Agency said “there is currently no indication that vaccination has caused these conditions, which are not listed as side effects with this vaccine” and that “the vaccine’s benefits continue to outweigh its risks and the vaccine can continue to be administered while investigation of cases of thromboembolic events is ongoing” as it reviews the cases.

It said “30 cases of thromboembolic events had been reported among close to 5 million people vaccinated” with the drug in Europe.

Thailand began vaccinating with Chinese company Sinovac’s drug last month, but its strategy relies more heavily on Oxford/AstraZeneca, from which it received some 117,000 doses.

With a population of around 69 million people, the country also expects to produce another 61 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from June in a local laboratory owned by the Thai king’s business holdings.

So far, Covid-19 has caused some 26,000 infections and 85 deaths in Thailand, where a second wave that began in December has dropped to fewer than 100 daily cases. EFE-EPA


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