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Denmark, Norway, Iceland Suspend Use Of AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine

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Denmark, Norway, Iceland Suspend Use Of AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine

Concerns about patients developing post-jab blood clots have made Denmark, Norway and Iceland to temporarily suspend the use of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine.

But the manufacturer and Europe’s medicines watchdog have insisted that the vaccine was safe.

Denmark was first to announce its suspension, “following reports of serious cases of blood clots” among people who had received the vaccine, the country’s Health Authority said in a statement.

It stressed the move was precautionary, and that “it has not been determined, at the time being, that there is a link between the vaccine and the blood clots.”

As of March 9, 22 cases of blood clots had been reported among more than three million people vaccinated in the European Economic Area, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said.

Austria announced on Monday that it had suspended the use of a batch of AstraZeneca vaccines after a 49-year-old nurse died of “severe blood coagulation problems” days after receiving an anti-Covid shot.

Four other European countries — Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Luxemburg — have also suspended the use of vaccines from this batch, which was sent to 17 European countries and consisted of one million jabs. Denmark however suspended the use of all of its AstraZeneca supply, as did Iceland and Norway in subsequent announcements on Thursday citing similar concerns.

On Wednesday, the EMA said a preliminary probe showed that the batch of AstraZeneca vaccines used in Austria was likely not to blame for the nurse’s death.

“This is a super-cautious approach based on some isolated reports in Europe,” said Stephen Evans, a professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

“The risk and benefit balance is still very much in favour of the vaccine,” he said.

AstraZeneca, an Anglo-Swedish company which developed the vaccine with Oxford University, defended the safety of its product.

“The safety of the vaccine has been extensively studied in phase III clinical trials and peer-reviewed data confirms the vaccine has been generally well tolerated,” a spokesman for the group told AFP.

Britain, whose widely-praised vaccine rollout has been largely underpinned by the AstraZeneca jab, also defended it as “both safe and effective”.

The Danish suspension, which will be reviewed after two weeks, is expected to slow down the country’s vaccination campaign.

Denmark now expects to have its entire adult population vaccinated by mid-August instead of early July, the health authority said.

READ ALSO: Edo To Recruit For EIRS, Water Corporation, Hospital Mgt Board, Others

“We are of course saddened by this news,” said Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen.

Frederiksen, who has pushed for the production of more vaccines and has formed a controversial alliance with Austria and Israel to do so, defended the Danish health authorities’ decision.

“There is always a risk associated with vaccines,” she told reporters. “Things have gone well in Denmark, but there are some risks linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine that need to be examined more closely. That seems to me to be the right way to proceed.”

Danish Health Authority director Soren Brostrom stressed that “we have not terminated the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, we are just pausing its use”.

“There is broad documentation proving that the vaccine is both safe and efficient,” Brostrom said.

“But both we and the Danish Medicines Agency must act on information about possible serious side effects, both in Denmark and in other European countries.”

Denmark said one person had died after receiving the vaccine. The EMA has launched an investigation into that death. In the Scandinavian country of 5.8 million, around 25 per cent of those who have received a first dose were given the AstraZeneca jab. In total, 3.8 per cent of the population has received two doses of vaccine and 13.4 per cent at least one dose.

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WHO Urges Global Surveillance As Over 300 Children Die

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WHO Urges Global Surveillance As Over 300 Children Die

The World Health Organisation (WHO), has appealed to countries to conduct more surveillance following a reported death of over 300 children from the use of contiminated cough syrups in three countries.

The world health agency on October 5, 2022, had issued a medical product alert which focused on the Gambia regarding four Indian products, Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup, and Magrip N Cold Syrup.
The alert came following the death of over 60 children in the West African country after consuming the cough syrups.

Again in November 2022, the WHO also issued another warning focused on Indonesia concerning eight products including Termorex syrup (batch AUG22A06 only), Flurin DMP syrup, Unibebi Cough Syrup, Unibebi Demam Paracetamol Drops, Unibebi Demam Paracetamol Syrup, Paracetamol Drops (manufactured by PT Afi Farma), Paracetamol Syrup (mint) (manufactured by PT Afi Farma), and Vipcol Syrup.

READ ALSO: Why Over One Billion People May Become Deaf – WHO

In another warning contained in a statement on Wednesday, the UN agency said over the past four months, several countries had reported incidents of over-the-counter cough syrups for children, with “confirmed or suspected contamination with high levels of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol.”

“Last year, WHO raised the alarm by issuing medical alerts in October focused on the Gambia, in November about Indonesia, and earlier this month regarding Uzbekistan.

“The cases in these three countries are associated with more than 300 deaths, but we know that at least seven countries have been affected. Most of the deaths have been in children under the age of five.

“WHO’s medical product alerts were rapidly disseminated to the national health authorities of all 194 WHO member states,” the warning said.

 

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How Long Fasting Harms Kidneys – NAFDAC DG

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How Long Fasting Harms Kidneys - NAFDAC DG

Nigerians who subject themselves to long-hour fasting are doing so much harm to their kidneys.

The Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, gave the warning on Monday.

Prof. Adeyeye, who attributed the high rate of kidney problems in Nigeria to prolonged fasting by some religious adherents, insisted that those subjecting themselves to prolonged fasting on religious grounds must moderate the act.

READ ALSO: NAFDAC Warns Of Fake Augmentin In Circulation

She spoke in Abuja yesterday, while briefing the media on the breakthrough by her agency in tracking consignments of Tramadol and other pharmaceuticals to the Republic of Benin.

On the high rate of kidney problems in the country, she said  “Kidney failure, we are a very religious country- Muslims and Christians fast a lot and it is part of the kidney problem.

“Your body has to have homeomistatic balance, meaning that the water level in your body must be enough to make your organs to function.

READ ALSO: Govt Speaks On Alleged Fatal Flu From China

“Some people will fast for 10 or 20 days and drink only little water, the kidney is being punished. Now, if you put chemicals in it, it triples in exponential manner, it damages the kidney because the kidney doesn’t have water to dilute and filter.”

Adeyeye, who tasked Nigerians to fast but with common sense, added:  “I fast but with common sense. We have to fast with common sense, otherwise we will pay with our kidneys.”

 

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Govt Speaks On Alleged Fatal Flu From China

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Govt Speaks On Alleged Fatal Flu From China

The Federal Government has made clarifications on reports of a fatal flu that broke out in China and that has spread to Nigeria.

The government through the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said that the World Health Organisation and other world health bodies had not informed Nigeria of any deadly flu from China.

He said this on Monday in Abuja, during a ministerial bi-weekly meeting on the update of COVID-19 response and development in the country’s health sector.

According to him, when there is an outbreak of any flu or disease anywhere in the world, WHO will announce it to the world and send an advisory on how it can be handled, but there is no such alert in the case of the strange flu.

“So the Ministry of Health finds the message going round in social media, odd and strange.

“By default, when there is an outbreak of any flu or disease anywhere we will hear it first from WHO and WHO has not said anything about it, we will also hear from the US Centre for Disease Control, but there’s nothing like that also from there and we have not even read anything from the Chinese people.

“Usually, their embassy will send somebody to come and inform us if there is anything. So I begin to wonder about the authenticity of that paper going around the place because up till today no confirmation of anything like that,” he said.

The minister also said that foreign media outlets were also silent about the flu from China, an indication that the news making the rounds was a fabrication.

He, however, said that the Federal Government was on the lookout for anything suspicious.

READ ALSO: China Opens Overseas Police Service Stations In Nigeria, Others

“This is a season where people generate stories, throw them into the media and everybody starts panicking, whilst those who generated such stories are laughing at the chaos that they have created.

“So we are watching the situation, everything we hear we take seriously, but I want to assure you again that any outbreak of such a character, first of all, is announced by WHO, they will then send us advisory and information about it.

“The US CDC, the equivalent of CDC in the UK, in Europe, they have not said anything. So reports of that nature I also want you to take with a big pinch of salt,” he added.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that there have been trending reports that amid the resurgence of COVID-19 in China, there has been an outbreak of an unknown deadly flu in China, which has led to the death of residents, including three Nigerians.

According to the reports, though the initial clinical analysis ruled out COVID-19, the symptoms of the fatal flu include dry throat, fever and difficulty in breathing.

 

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