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Philippines Suspends Use of AstraZeneca Vaccine for People Under 60

Αssociated Press

Devotees offers prayers outside the Quiapo Church on Good Friday, April 2, 2021 as the government implements a strict lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Manila, Philippines. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine health officials have decided to temporarily suspend the use of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine for people below 60 following reports of rare blood clots.

The European Medicines Agency on Wednesday reported a possible link but did not recommend any age restrictions on using the drug in adults.

The Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration said experts were reviewing information related to AstraZeneca’s side effects to come up with a recommendation on the vaccine’s use. AstraZeneca and the vaccine developed by China-based Sinovac Biotech have been the only COVID-19 vaccines received so far by the Philippines.

“We continue to underscore that the benefits of vaccination continue to outweigh the risks and we urge everyone to get vaccinated when it’s their turn,” FDA Director General Eric Domingo said.

More than 460,000 doses of AstraZeneca have been administered in the country so far and millions of doses more have been ordered by the government and private companies, Philippine officials said.

The country's vaccination campaign has faced supply problems, delivery delays and public hesitancy amid an alarming surge in coronavirus infections.