Swaziland (eSwatini) is to continue distributing the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine even though its use has been suspended in countries across the world after a health scare.
About 32,000 doses of the vaccine were thought to be available in the kingdom with donations received from India and the COVAX facility, which is partly funded by the European Union.
Meanwhile, countries including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Bulgaria, Thailand and Indonesia temporarily suspended distribution of the AstraZeneca vaccine following reports that it might have caused blood clots in some users.
In a statement, AstraZeneca said that as of 8 March there had been 15 events of deep-vein thrombosis and 22 events of pulmonary embolism reported among the 17 million people given its vaccine in the EU and UK, which it said ‘is much lower than would be expected to occur naturally in a general population of this size’.
The European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organization both said that there was no evidence the drug was causing clots.
The Swaziland Ministry of Health Principal Secretary (PS) Dr Simon Zwane said the vaccine was safe and it would continue to be used. He added test would be undertaken if a person who had been injected with the vaccine shows unhealthy symptoms.
As of 15 March 2021 – one year after the pandemic began – there had been 663 deaths from coronavirus (COVID-19), according to the Swazi Ministry of Health.
Swaziland extends coronavirus lockdown and prepares for third wave to strike