BANGKOK: Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and members of his Cabinet cancelled on Friday (Mar 12) plans to receive AstraZeneca vaccine shots after the country delayed use of the vaccines over reports of blood clots in some European nations, a health official said.
In a health ministry news conference, Prasit Watanapa, dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Siriraj Hospital, confirmed that the roll-out would be delayed after a suspension of inoculations using the vaccine in Denmark, Norway and Iceland.
Denmark suspended the shots for two weeks after a 60-year-old woman, who was given an AstraZeneca shot from the same batch used in Austria, formed a blood clot and died, Danish health authorities said.
Their response was also prompted by reports “of possible serious side effects” from other European countries.
Norway and Iceland said the suspension was a precaution.
“Though the quality of AstraZeneca is good, some countries have asked for a delay,” said Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn, an adviser for the country’s COVID-19 vaccine committee, in a press conference.
“We will delay (as well)”.
Some health experts said there was little evidence to suggest the AstraZeneca vaccine should not be administered and that the cases of blood clots corresponded with the rate of such cases in the general population.
In a statement, AstraZeneca said it had found no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis in safety data of more than 10 million records, even when considering subgroups based on age, gender, production batch or country of use.
Thailand kicked off its COVID-19 inoculation campaign on Feb 28 after receiving its first 200,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine from China and 117,000 imported doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine.
A mass campaign to administer 10 million doses a month is set to begin in June, with 61 million shots of AstraZeneca vaccines produced by local firm Siam Bioscience.