Philippines extends sympathies to Britain on Prince Philip's death; suspends use of AstraZeneca jab for people under 60

Health workers sort patients' files at a triage area in Santa Ana Hospital, where a sign indicating that the hospital's coronavirus disease (Covid-19) facility is at full capacity is displayed, in Manila, Philippines, on April 9, 2021. - Reuters

MANILA, April 10 (dpa): Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte expressed "deep condolences" on the passing of Prince Philip, as he cited the strong bilateral ties between the Philippines and Britain.

"On behalf of the Filipino people, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte extends his deep condolences to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the passing of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh," the Office of the President said in a statement.

"The Philippines and the United Kingdom have strong bilateral ties and we share the grief of the British people in this period of bereavement," the statement said.

"We pray for the eternal repose of his soul and for The Royal Family to find strength in this time of mourning," it added.

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that the Philippines has temporarily suspended the use of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine for those younger than 60 following reports from abroad of rare blood clots in some recipients.

The country's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) called the suspension "a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of every Filipino."

The FDA noted that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has now recommended that blood clots be listed as a "very rare" side effect of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Several European countries and Canada have also put age restrictions in place due to a handful of blood clot cases reported in younger people.

"While we have not seen such incidents in the country, the FDA has recommended to temporarily suspend the use of the vaccine for persons below 60 years old as we await results of the review being done by our local experts, as well as the official guidance of the WHO (World Health Organisation),” FDA Director General Eric Domingo said.

The Philippines has received an initial shipment of 525,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine through the WHO COVAX facility. It is the second vaccine brand delivered to the Philippines; the other is Sinovac from China.

As of April 6, nearly 923,000 doses of both Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines have been administered across the country. - dpa
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