DR Congo waking up to AstraZeneca death jab?

Tshisekedi of D R Congo

Several African countries have banned the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, citing possible side effects. The move follows similar measures by European states.

African countries temporarily suspend AstraZeneca vaccine

by Daniel Pelz, Deutsche Welle

When more than 1.7 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in the Democratic Republic of Congo in early March, Health Minister Eteni Longondo was personally on hand to receive them.

“The vaccinations will enable us to protect and save lives. We must encourage the target population to be vaccinated,” the United Nations quoted him as saying.

Initially, the Congolese government had planned to use this first shipment to vaccinate 20% of its population, including health workers, people aged over 55, and people suffering from serious health conditions such as kidney disease, high blood pressure or diabetes.

But that plan now looks unlikely to go ahead. On Monday, the government announced it would temporarily suspend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, citing recent fears over potential side effects.

“We are waiting for the conclusion of the research that is being done by the Europeans and also by our own scientific committee and then we will make a final decision,” Longondo clarified to reporters. “Maybe in two or three weeks, we will have these conclusions.”

Fears over side effects supersede rollout

DR Congo has joined a host of other African nations that have also suspended the use of AstraZeneca.

“The scientific council suggests that we do not continue to use this vaccine until the preliminary investigations are completed,” Cameroon’s health minister, Manaouda Malachie, told journalists, adding that his country would store all doses received so far until there was more clarity about the safety and side effects of the vaccine.

Over a dozen European countries stopped administering the AstraZeneca vaccine this week following reports that it could lead to potentially dangerous blood clots. The European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organization (WHO) are currently investigating the reports.