On Wednesday, Italy, Spain, and Britain announced their plan to limit the use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 jab in their respective vaccination programs after news of the shot’s ‘possible link’ to the development of blood clots.

Britain’s vaccine advisory group, JCVI, has advised people under the age of 30 years old to look for an alternative vaccine. Italy and Spain restricted the use of the jab for people over the age of 60 years old. 

For those under 60, who’s taken the first of two AstraZeneca shots, the Italian health authority recommends taking the second one. 

Britain’s recommendation comes after the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) review into the blood clotting claims. The British regulator found that 79 people developed the said side-effect by the end of March -19 of which had died.

MHRA noted that the ’79 cases and 19 deaths occurred after 20 million doses were administered,’ which means a four-in-one-million chance of developing a blood clot, and a one-in-a-million probability of dying from it. 

According to JCVI’s Professor Lim Wei Shen, Britain’s move to restrict AstraZeneca’s vaccine was based on ‘utmost caution’ rather than ‘serious safety concerns.’

Meanwhile, Spain’s decision to limit the roll-out of the vaccine came after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) confirmed a ‘possible link’ between AstraZeneca’s vaccine and blood clotting.

Although the EMA made the announcement, they did not specify or advised age restrictions for the vaccine. They note that ‘the vaccine’s benefits still outweigh its alleged risks.’

Early in March, numerous countries, specifically in the continent of Europe, halted the use of the vaccine after cases of people who developed blood clots in the brain began to pop up. Sweden, Latvia, Germany, France, Denmark, Norway, and The Netherlands were among the countries that initially suspended the utilization of the shot.

However, Germany, France, and The Netherlands have since resumed the roll-out of the vaccine for specific age groups.

In the Philippines, the vaccine is still being rolled out. In a joint statement on March 12, the Department of Health (DOH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said ‘there is no indication for the Philippines to stop the rollout of AstraZeneca vaccines’ – emphasizing that there’s still no clear evidence to prove the vaccine is what’s causing the blood clots.

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