GENEVA, 16 March 2021 – The Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) has become the first African country to suspend vaccinations using the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines over quality concerns.

DR Congo has postponed the start of the rollout of the vaccine, effectively joining European countries which suspended use of the vaccine over concerns that it may cause blood clots.

Inoculation against the Ebola Virus - Photo NBC News

Inoculation against the Ebola Virus – Photo NBC News

COVID Vaccine Rollout Continues - Photo ABC News

COVID Vaccine Rollout Continues – Photo ABC News

The World Health Organization (WHO) says it is still reviewing the situation to see if there is scientific evidence that there is a link between the administration of the vaccine and blood clots.

All other African countries continue to inoculate using the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine 14.5 million doses of which have been delivered by the global COVAX initiative to 23 African countries.

Responding to COVID-19 - Photo ICRC

Responding to COVID-19 – Photo ICRC

Government officials in Nigeria, Uganda and Somalia have said they have faith in the vaccines and are maintaining their inoculation campaigns.

Somali President Formaajo became the first Somali to receive a jab from the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine after the first batch of doses from COVAX was delivered on Monday.

WHO is standing behind the vaccine encouraging countries on Tuesday to continue rolling it out and promising to promptly update countries should their position on the vaccine change.

Public health officials have stressed that blood clots tend to be associated with COVID-19 and people who turn down taking the vaccines leave themselves more exposed both to the disease and the higher likelihood of blood clots.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is one of the approved vaccines that has not won emergency use authorization in the United States.

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