Low rate of adverse reactions from AstraZeneca COVID shots in Việt Nam, immunisation official says

May 05, 2024 - 10:48
Vaccinated individuals should not be worried and should understand that in the fight against COVID-19, vaccination's health benefits vastly outweighs the risks
An AstraZeneca COVID vaccine dose is being prepared during the vaccination drive in Hà Nội in May 2021. — VNA/VNS Photo Thành Đạt

HÀ NỘI — Tens of millions of AstraZeneca COVID vaccines have been administered in Việt Nam and only a few cases of blood clot related reactions recorded post-vaccination, an immunisation official has stated amid concerns over side effects.

Phạm Quang Thái, Head of the Northern Vaccination Office at the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, has urged people to understand the issue better to avoid 'unnecessary panic'.

According to the official, when the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine was brought to Việt Nam for use, the healthcare sector was very cautious about the issue of blood clots previously recorded in Europe.

In practice, strict screening has been implemented during the vaccination drive.

Thái also added that the issue of blood clots was mainly observed within 28 days after vaccination. Currently, Việt Nam has halted the administration of COVID-19 vaccination for some time, given that the pandemic has been controlled.

Data shows that the rate of adverse reactions recorded after receiving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is also very low.

The European Medicines Agency, after examining results, found that the difference in the proportion of individuals with blood clots before and after vaccination was very low and almost statistically insignificant.

The immunisation expert also said in European communities, there is a naturally higher rate of blood clots compared to other communities, especially in Asia.

Vaccinated individuals should not be worried and should understand that in the fight against COVID-19, vaccination's health benefits vastly outweighs the risks, according to the official.

Thái noted that all types of vaccines, when granted approval for use, must undergo a very rigorous review process.

Assoc. Prof. Lương Ngọc Khuê, Director of the Ministry of Health’s Department of Medical Service Administration, also confirmed that the blood clot issue was among the side effects that Vietnamese authorities were warned about when organising the rollout of AstraZeneca shots.

He remarked that at the start, the health sector remained cautious, with mandatory blood pressure measurements before and after vaccination, but subsequently this requirement was eased as it was observed that the vaccines did not cause serious health impacts.

The expert also noted that most people had received AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for several years now, and its effectiveness has now waned, so there is no need to overly worry about adverse effects leading to blood clots.

By mid-2023, the country had administered over 266.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine – including AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, and Sinopharm.

Việt Nam is one of the countries with the highest COVID-19 vaccine coverage rates in the world, with nearly 100 per cent coverage of primary vaccination (two doses) for individuals aged 12 and older, and 89.6 per cent of at-risk adults receiving four doses (primary course and booster shots).

At the beginning of 2024, representatives from the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology also stated that Việt Nam has just over 400,000 doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine remaining in storage, with an expiration date in September 2024. — VNS