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The DRC awaits “the result of the investigations” at the “national and international level” to launch its vaccination campaign with AstraZeneca

The Congolese authorities announced on March 12, 2021 that they were postponing the launch of the vaccination campaign against Covid-19 with the doses of AstraZeneca scheduled three days later. The DRC received them at the beginning of March, as part of the Covax initiative, aimed at allowing the less fortunate states to access vaccines against Sars-Cov-2.

The decision of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been taken “as a precautionary measure”, said the Congolese Minister of Health Eteni Longondo following temporary suspension by “some EU countries (of) the use of a specific lot of AstraZeneca vaccine based on reports of blood clotting disorders in people who have received vaccine from that particular lot “.

Noting that the causal link between vaccination and “onset” of these troubles “is not formally proven”, the Congolese official insisted on “to reassure” his compatriots by declaring that the vaccine was used in other countries, in particular in Africa. Several of them received the first doses to vaccinate their populations, many of which were produced by AstraZeneca. In the DRC, “the new date will be announced shortly as soon as the results of the investigations already underway at the national and international level are available “.

For now, WHO recommends continuing to use the vaccine. An opinion shared by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) as new Union countries such as Germany, France and Italy announced the suspension on March 15 of the use of the vaccines of the Anglo firm -Swedish pending a European opinion. “We remain firmly convinced that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing Covid-19, with its associated risk of hospitalizations and death, outweigh the risk of these side effects”, EMA Executive Director Emer Cooke said in a virtual press conference on March 16.

In his intervention of March 12, the DRC Minister of Health assured that Congolese experts remain convinced that the vaccine is “an important pillar” of the risk against Covid-19 and that it was “the prevention axis par excellence”.

“I call on the government to intensify research to identify the best vaccine against Covid-19”, invited Modeste Bahati Lukwebo, the president of the Congolese Senate to the opening of the ordinary session of the chamber on March 15, reports the news site.

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This is not the first time that an African country has given up on launching its vaccination campaign with AstraZeneca at the last minute. South Africa took a similar decision in February after a study found the product to be less effective on the South African variant.

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