Concepcion: Huge benefits outweigh potential risks of Astrazeneca vaccine
FOLLOWING the reports from various European Medical agencies regarding the possible link between blood clotting and the Astrazeneca vaccine, and with the DOH and FDA announcing their move of temporarily suspending Astrazeneca vaccination for persons below 60, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneur and Go Negosyo Founder Joey Concepcion highlighted that we should focus on and not forget the huge benefits of the vaccine, which outweigh its potential risks.
“Of course, any information like this is a point of concern. Most especially, we are expecting around 22 to 26 million total combined doses of Astrazeneca from the COVAX facility for LGUS and private sector procurement. However, it’s important to note that the majority of the workforce in the private sector as well as LGUS belong to the age group below 60, so this greatly affects our population. Vaccinating Filipinos is critical to our national health and recovery, and failing to meet these goals will have a direct hit on the economy,” Concepcion noted.
“As of the moment, the Philippines has inoculated more than 500,000 individuals using the same vaccines. And if there are any extreme adverse effects, we should know them by now. Also, countries like Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, and many others have made no restrictions except for the UK, which restricts ages below 30,” Concepcion added.
“Patient safety remains to be the highest priority for Astrazeneca. Tens of millions of people have now received the vaccine across the globe. The extensive body of data from two large clinical datasets and real-world evidence demonstrate the vaccine’s effectiveness, reaffirming the role the vaccine can play during this public health crisis. We will continue to work with the Philippine FDA to answer any questions they may have,”astrazeneca shares in its statement.
“Aside from the assurance that Astrazeneca gave us, publications from medical experts suggest that the Astrazeneca vaccine is still extremely effective and safe despite the raised concerns regarding the blood clotting. All experts agree that vaccination using Astrazeneca continues to be a huge benefit to our vaccination campaign and the current cases, considered very rare, are still within the risk parameters.
“The numbers are clear. With the March 31 data from the UK, from the 20.2 million recipients of the Astrazeneca vaccine, only 79 reported to have clotting issues. That’s just 0.0000039%, or around 4 in every 1 million people,” Concepcion forwarded.
“The WHO is carefully monitoring the rollout of all COVID-19 vaccines and will continue to work closely with countries to manage potential risks, and to use science and data to drive response and recommendations.
“In extensive vaccination campaigns, it is normal for countries to identify potential adverse events following immunization. This does not necessarily mean that the events are linked to vaccination itself. But they must be investigated nonetheless to ensure that any safety concerns are addressed quickly. Vaccines, like all medicines, can have side effects. The administration of vaccines is based on a risk versus benefit analysis,”who stated.
“The benefits of vaccination continue to outweigh any risks, but the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) advises that careful consideration be given to people who are at higher risk of specific types of blood clots because of their medical condition. The MHRA is not recommending age restrictions for COVID-19 Astrazeneca vaccine USE,”MHRA forwarded.
“No effective medicine or vaccine is without risk. We continually monitor safety during widespread use of any vaccine. This is to ensure vaccines are performing as expected, to identify any new side effects that may arise, and to ensure the benefits continue to outweigh the risks,” said MHRA Chief Executive Dr. June Raine.
Adding to the confidence of the public, “We have a rich source of data–the best data there is–and the MHRA and Commission on Human Medicines (CHM) will continue to keep this under close observation. The public deserves nothing less,” Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, Chair of the Commission on Human Medicines, stated.
“The public’s safety is always at the forefront of our minds and we take every report of a suspected side effect very seriously indeed. We thoroughly analyze each and every report as we receive it. And although the number of reports of Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis (CVST) and other thromboembolic events have increased over the last week, so has the overall number of vaccinations administered. Therefore these blood clots remain extremely rare and unlikely to occur,” Dr. Raine added.
With the update on the Astrazeneca vaccines, the 2.6 million doses procured by the first batch of donors are expected to arrive this May and June from Thailand. For the the 14.5 million doses, procured by both the private sector and the LGUS, are expected to arrive in the third and fourth quarter of the year.
“We are expecting all of these with no delays as we need to vaccinate the country as fast as we can. All of the vaccines have been proven generally safe and effective before they were approved by numerous regulatory bodies. We need everyone to be vaccinated as this is the only way to overcome COVID-19. Our definition of winning this war is saving both lives and livelihoods as we safely reopen the economy,” Concepcion ends.