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Asia accelerates AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine rollouts

Many Asian countries are accelerating the rollout of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine after confidence in its safety was hit, following reports that the shot was linked to rare blood clots in Europe earlier this month. After briefly halting its use, many European countries have resumed using the shot in their inoculation programmes after a regional regulator said it was safe, while several country leaders are also taking the vaccine to boost confidence.

The AstraZeneca shot was among the first and cheapest of the COVID-19 vaccines to be developed and launched at volume and is set to be the mainstay of vaccination programmes in much of the developing world. But its brief suspension raised concerns that a slowdown in vaccination rollouts could hurt the global fight against the pandemic, as coronavirus cases surge in some countries, overwhelming healthcare systems and hurting economies.

Thailand’s prime minister also became the first person in the country to be inoculated with the AstraZeneca vaccine after its rollout was temporarily put on hold over safety concerns, while Indonesia began using it on Monday after suspending it last week. But Indonesia’s Food and Drug agency has warned against its use on people with blood clotting disorders.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson received his first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, saying he “did not feel a thing.” The European Medicines Agency regulator said on Thursday the vaccine is effective and not linked with a rise in the overall risk of blood clots. Yet a survey released on Monday showed that people in seven European countries were more likely to see the vaccine as unsafe than as safe.

Asia accelerates AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine rollouts, even as trust plunges in Europe, Reuters, Mar 22

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