Back on the local front.
THE ROLLOUT of AstraZeneca vaccines for THOSE UNDER 60 HAS been HALTED at the moment here in Korea as authorities look into a THIRD CASE of blood clotting.
I have our Eum Ji-young here in the studio.
Ji-young do start with the KDCA's latest decision regarding AstraZeneca vaccines.
Sure, Sunhee. The KDCA announced on Wednesday that it would pause the rollout of AstraZeneca vaccines for people aged below 60. This applies BOTH to people have received their first dose and those yet to receive it.
Also, vaccines for special education and daycare center instructors, as well as school infirmary workers and daycare center nurses are postponed as well. The agency said the decision was made with safe precautions in mind, after the country's third case of post-inoculation blood clots was reported in an AstraZeneca vaccine recipient.
According to the government, a woman in her 20s suffered blood clots in her legs after getting AstraZeneca's shot. The vaccine was administered on March 17th and the symptoms occurred after 12 days on the 29th.
Health authorities said an expert panel will be deliberating on the matter, following an announcement by the European Medicines Agency on its probe into the possible link between AstraZeneca vaccines and post-inoculation blood clots.
And speaking of the European drug regulator it has announced a LINK between AstraZeneca vaccines and VERY RARE cases of blood clots?
Yes, that's right. After an investigation, they concluded that there is a possibility of very rare blood clots combined with low levels of blood platelets, which can occur within two weeks of receiving the vaccine.
But the agency was not able to establish which demographic groups were especially vulnerable to such conditions. Take a listen.
(ENGLISH- ) Apr.07,2021
"Most of the cases occurred in individuals below 60 years of age and in women but because of the different ways the vaccine is being used in the different countries, the (Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment) committee cannot conclude that age and gender were clear risk factors for these very rare side effects."
The EMA continued to stress however that the overall benefits of getting vaccinated outweigh the risk of side effects.
It remains to be seen if the EMA announcement will allay the fears going around in Europe, with many countries like Germany and France having suspended the use of AstraZeneca shots for certain age groups. Even the UK, the home of the biotech giant, is considering an alternative vaccine for those under the age of 30 amid the still-lingering concerns over AstraZeneca shots.
South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun meanwhile urged local health authorities to thoroughly review the results and promptly draw a scientific conclusion.
Meanwhile Korea's drug regulator has approved the use of Janssen's COVID-19 vaccine.
Do tell us more.
Sure, Sunhee. A panel of local experts ruled that the vaccine developed by Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson, is safe and effective. Following that recommendation, the Food and Drug Safety Ministry said on Wednesday that it has given its final approval.
(KOREAN- ) Apr.07,2021
"The final review committee examined the results of the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety's evaluation and also that of the two previous meetings by an expert panel. The committee recommended the approval of Janssen's product, under the condition that the company discloses its final clinical trial report."
The panel concluded that the vaccine is safe, and that only mild symptoms like muscle pain and headaches were seen after the vaccination, with the test group recovering from those side effects within two to three days.
Also the efficacy rate of the vaccine was found to be at 66.9 percent after 14 days of inoculation.
This is the third COVID-19 vaccine that has been approved in South Korea and unlike AstraZeneca and Pfizer shots, Janssen's product is a single-shot vaccine.
(KOREAN- ) Apr.07,2021
"The vaccine has been designed to prevent COVID-19 in adults aged 18 and older, is administered in single doses of 0.5 milliliters, and can be stored for up to 24 months in temperatures between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius."
The government has signed a deal with Janssen to secure up to 6 million bottles and they are expected to be administered in the third quarter of this year.
Alright thank you for that update Ji-young.
Thank you for having me.