The Department of Health (DOH) announced on Friday, May 7, 2021 that it would resume vaccinations with the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine ahead of the expected two million doses being delivered within the month. The agency announced guidelines for the treatment of adverse events after vaccination (AEFI), especially for the very rare vaccine-induced thrombosis and thrombocytopenia (VITT), have been updated.

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VITT is a very rare blood clot disorder associated with low platelet counts that can occur 4 to 28 days after receiving a vector viral vaccine like AstraZeneca, DOH said in a statement Friday. Vaccinations with the AstraZeneca vaccine have been canceled for those under 60 years of age The Philippines previously received 525,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, all given as the first dose. The second dose should be given 12 weeks later. The DOH said the All Experts Group on Vaccines and the Philippine College of Hematology and Transfusion Medicine have determined that there are currently no known risk factors for VITT. So far no local VITT events have been confirmed by the National Adverse Events Following Immunization Committee and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The DOH also said that vaccine experts have concluded that the benefits of receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine still outweigh the risk. Based on the guidelines, all vaccination sites should have increased post-vaccination surveillance to detect possible AEFIs. All health care workers at vaccination sites should also be trained to identify and manage possible symptoms of VITT and refer them to the appropriate health care facility for final processing and treatment.The AstraZeneca vaccine, which was donated through the Covax facility, was given Approved in the Philippines for adults 18 years and older. The Philip Kiefern have been given more than 4.0 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine through Covax. The private sector and local authorities have also ordered 17 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. (Marites Villamor-Ilano / SunStar Philippines)

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