JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Indonesia joined European countries to delay the use of Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine until the World Health Organization (WHO) completes its research on the vaccine side effects.
The decision was made following reports that some people who received AstraZeneca shots in Europe formed blood clots.
“As of now, the WHO is still conducting its studies, while the UK’s medicine regulator MHRA and the European medicine regulator EMA have yet confirmed whether this (blood clot) has a connection with the vaccines or not,” said Indonesia’s Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin during a meeting with the House of Representatives Commission IX overseeing health care and manpower on Monday, March 15.
So far, Budi added, based on the information he had received the blood clots were not caused by the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. However, the Ministry of Health and the Food and DrugMonitoring Agency (BPOM) has suspended the use of AstraZeneca.
More than a million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in the country on March 8. Indonesia received the vaccine through the COVAX facility.
“The BPOM has suspended the use of AstraZeneca while waiting for confirmation from the WHO. Hopefully, the results will be released soon as the AstraZeneca vaccine will be expired at the end of May,” the minister said.
Budi said that his office is also waiting for the confirmation of the halal status of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI). “The MUI should hold a meeting tomorrow or the day after so that the fatwa [edict] can be issued in the next two days,” said Budi.
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Last week, it was reported that eight European countries have suspended the use of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine following reports of the formation of blood clots in some people who received the vaccines.