PH to resume AstraZeneca vaccine use after evaluation – DOH

The Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday, April 17, announced that it will resume the use of AstraZeneca vaccines in the country’s vaccination program after a two-week evaluation of the vaccine.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 08, 2021 A health worker prepares a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine at a Covid-19 vaccination centre located in Termini station in Rome (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

This comes after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended to continue the use of the shots against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on persons below 60 years old, saying that the benefit outweighs the risks.

“Tapos na po yung pag-evaluate ng mga eksperto with FDA, at nagsabi naman sila talaga (The evaluation of the experts with the FDA has completed and they really said) that after this two weeks, when the evaluation comes out, we will again resume the vaccination with AstraZeneza,” DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a televised briefing.

But the health official noted that there are “specific indications” to be put in place this time.

“Ibig sabihin meron tayong mga kailangan na guidance sa mga gagamit for these AstraZeneca vaccines at pinag-uusapan na yan ngayon (This means that we need to have the necessary guidance for users of these AstraZeneca vaccines and we are discussing that now),” she said.

She added that the DOH will consult with the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) and experts on how to implement the protocols before handing it out to the implementing units.

The Philippines has temporarily suspended the use of AstraZeneca shots following reports of “very rare” blood clotting in persons inoculated with the vaccine overseas.


As for Vergeire, the pause on the use of the COVID-19 jab did not affect the public confidence on the vaccine.

“Sa tingin ko po, hindi naman masyadong naka-apekto kasi naipaliwanag naman po natin ng maayos at patuloy po nating pinapaliwanag (I don't think it affected much because we explained it well and we continue to explain it),” she said.

Vergeire noted that the two-week evaluation is part of the regulatory process wherein developments on the vaccine use have to be studied to make sure its safe, as well as to ensure the safety of the people.

“With the evaluation done, and tsaka basi rin sa mga rekomendasyon all over the world and from WHO, itutuloy po natin ang bakunahan (With the evaluation done, and also based on the recommendations all over the world and from World Health Organization, we will continue the vaccination),” she said.

“Meron lang tayong mga konting indikasyon na instructions na kailangan ibigay para mas ligtas nating magamit ang bakunang ito (We only have a few indication which are instructions that need to be given so that we can use this vaccine more safely),” she added.