Indonesia recently recalled nearly half-a-million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine for analysis amid concerns of severe side effects.
However, the National Commission on Post-Immunization Accidents (Komnas KIPI) said that as of last Friday, there have been no deaths related to any COVID-19 vaccination in Indonesia.
“The results of investigations on suspected deaths due to the Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines showed that they were unrelated to the vaccines, but were due to underlying illnesses,” the commission said in a statement.
Those illnesses include heart disease, impaired kidney function, diabetes, and uncontrolled hypertension.
In an official statement, the Health Ministry yesterday said the batch of 448,480 doses, code-named CTMAV547, has been suspended from distribution and use as the Food and Drugs Monitoring Agency (BPOM) carries out toxicity and sterilization testing over the next two weeks.
CTMAV547 was part of some 3.8 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine that arrived in Indonesia on April 26 as part of a WHO-backed initiative to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries. Some doses from the batch have been administered to military personnel and civilians in Jakarta and South Sulawesi.
The Health Ministry assured the public that all other AstraZeneca doses — which total 6.4 million thus far — are safe for administration.
“The use of the AstraZeneca vaccine will continue because COVID-19 vaccination brings great benefits,” Siti said.
Though health authorities did not establish a causal link, the suspension of CTMAV547 came after a 22-year-old Jakarta man died from blood clots shortly after receiving an AstraZeneca jab. Officials have not explicitly confirmed if he was given a shot from the CTMAV547 batch.
Member of Parliament Saleh P Daulay is one of a growing number of Indonesians concerned about the AstraZeneca vaccine — not just the CTMAV547 batch.