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Thai leader gets AstraZeneca vaccine: 'We must believe our doctors'

Thai leader gets AstraZeneca vaccine: 'We must believe our doctors'
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Thailand’s prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, received a dose of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine on Tuesday, urging people to “believe doctors” as European nations move to suspend the AstraZeneca vaccine over concerns it may cause blood clots.

“There are people who have concerns,” Chan-ocha said after receiving the vaccine. “But we must believe doctors, believe in our medical professionals.”

As The Associated Press notes, most Asian countries have continued administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine, developed with Oxford University. Thailand had halted the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, becoming the first country outside of Europe to do so, but the country's health authorities made the decision to continue administering it.

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According to the AP, Thailand has ordered enough doses from AstraZeneca and China to cover around half of its population and has so far immunized around 50,000 people in high-risk groups.

Many countries have argued that the benefits afforded by the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh its potential risks.

“There is still no clear data that shows that the blood clotting was caused by AstraZeneca. If such data will come out, maybe we will also stop the use of AstraZeneca,” Harry Roque, president of the Philippines, said. “As of now, our experts are saying again that the benefits we get from using AstraZeneca are larger than the side effects of this vaccine.”

Indonesia has also suspended use of the vaccine, saying it would wait until a full report from the World Health Organization regarding side effects was released.

Around a dozen European countries, including France, Germany, Italy, Latvia and Sweden, have temporarily suspended use of the AstraZeneca vaccine as a precautionary measure.

AstraZeneca released a statement on Monday saying it had found no increased risk of "pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or thrombocytopenia" following a review of more than 17 million vaccines administered in Europe.