Paraguay to give first doses of AstraZeneca only to people over 55 : Health Ministry

Moscow, Apr 11 (FN Bureau) Paraguay has decided to stop administering the first shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine to people under the age of 55, the country’s Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare informs. “The measure to stop immunization with this vaccine in people under 55 years of age is due to the precautionary principle, and absolutely does not undermine the safety of this vaccine,” Dr. Hector Castro, director of the Expanded Immunization Program, said as quoted in the health ministry’s Saturday release.

Paraguay’s health ministry said that people who have already received the first dose of AstraZeneca can get their second shot as planned. Castro advised that those under the age of 55 who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 at all, should get inoculated with Russia’s Sputnik V or India’s Covaxin coronavirus vaccines. On Friday, the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said it had started a review to assess reports of capillary leak syndrome in people vaccinated with Vaxzevria (previously COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca) and was also investigating thromboembolic events after vaccination with Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen coronavirus vaccine.

Earlier this week, the EMA said that, according to its findings, blood clots could be a side effect of the AstraZeneca vaccine but the “reported combination of blood clots and low blood platelets is very rare, and the overall benefits of the vaccine in preventing COVID-19 outweigh the risks of side effects.” Following EMA’s revelations, the WHO said that the “causal relationship” between the AstraZeneca vaccine and the occurrence of blood clots “is considered plausible but is not confirmed.” AstraZeneca said on Wednesday that it was working to establish the causes of blood clots in people inoculated with its coronavirus vaccine, but emphasized that these were very rare cases. Several countries have already halted the use of AstraZeneca shots in younger people amid reported cases of blood clots.