Thailand announced Friday to temporarily halt the roll-out of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccination after some European nations suspended the use of the vaccine due to concerns of blood clotting.
"It is not certain whether the blood clot symptom is directly related to the AstraZeneca vaccine. The vaccine is good, but for the safety of the Thai people, we decide to suspend the use of the vaccine until further evaluation," Kiattiphum Wongrajit, permanent secretary for the Ministry of Public Health told a news conference.
Thailand also canceled the plan scheduled for Friday for Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and members of his cabinet to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine shots.
The announcement came after countries including Denmark, Norway and Iceland suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine following reports of the formation of blood clots after some people received the vaccines.
"With this postponement, we are not saying that the vaccine is problematic. This postponement is to wait for verification whether there is any relation with the vaccine or that batch of the vaccine," Yong Poovorawan, a senior virologist at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University, told the news conference.
"The vaccines supplied to Thailand were not the same batch as in Europe, but made in Asia," Yong said.
Thailand launched its national inoculation program on Feb. 28, using vaccines developed by China's Sinovac. It has ordered Sinovac vaccines with the first doses having arrived on Feb. 24. The country also received AstraZeneca vaccine on the same day.
Thailand has so far confirmed more than 26,600 COVID-19 cases and 85 deaths.