By J. Jala | 09:48 PM March 12, 2021
Thailand on Friday became the first Asian country to halt the use of coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford over safety concerns,
following reports of blood clots in some vaccinated people.
Around 5 million Europeans have already received the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Thailand’s public health ministry said it made the decision because the country had not been “hard hit” by the virus and it had other vaccines it could rely on in the meantime.
There have been about 30 cases in Europe of “thromboembolic events” – or developing blood clots – after the vaccine was administered.
On Friday, Bulgaria became the latest country to suspend use of the vaccine, and it asked for a written statement from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) accounting for the jab’s safety.
The EMA said on Thursday that there was no indication the jab was causing the blood clots, adding that its “benefits continue to outweigh its risks”.
Many other nations, however, have defended their use of the shot and said they will continue their respective inoculation campaigns.
AstraZeneca said the drug’s safety had been studied extensively in clinical trials.
In a setback to Europe’s ailing vaccination campaign, seven other countries have also suspended the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot: Norway, Iceland, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia.
Austria and Italy, meanwhile, have said that they will stop using certain batches of the vaccine as a precautionary measure. With reports from BBC and CNBC