The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Friday withdrew its recommendation that people who take oral contraceptives or are undergoing hormone therapy not take the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, citing new research findings.
When Taiwan on March 22 began inoculating residents with the AstraZeneca vaccine, the CECC issued a warning of an unconfirmed risk of blood clotting associated with the drug.
Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is the CECC spokesman, said that the CECC at the time recommended that people who take oral contraceptives or are undergoing hormone therapy not take the jab based on reports from overseas.
Photo: Cheng I-hwa/Bloomberg
More recent studies have not confirmed a higher risk of blood clotting for people of those groups who receive the vaccine, Chuang said, adding that the center withdrew the recommendation after consulting with experts.
National Taiwan University Children’s Hospital superintendent Huang Li-min (黃立民) said that blood clotting is often linked to certain hormone levels, leading medical experts to not recommend the AstraZeneca shot after it has been linked to the condition.
A growing number of countries have found that post-vaccination blood clotting was of a different kind than blood clotting linked to hormone levels, said Huang, who heads the Infectious Diseases Society of Taiwan.
“It’s a different pathogenesis mechanism,” he added.
Hwang Kao-pin (黃高彬), director of the division of pediatric infectious diseases at China Medical University in Taichung, said that the condition is less common in Taiwan because of genetic factors.
However, people taking oral contraceptives or undergoing hormone therapy who wish to get the AstraZeneca jab should stop the treatment 28 days before getting vaccinated, Hwang said.
Taiwan on Wednesday received a batch of 410,400 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Safety checks on the vaccines are expected to be completed by Wednesday next week, Food and Drug Administration Director-General Wu Shou-mei (吳秀梅) said on Friday, adding that the certified doses would be distributed nationwide.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that people at heightened risk of contracting COVID-19 have an obligation to get vaccinated, adding that this would not just protect themselves, but also their contacts.
Chen’s remarks came a day after Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said that all medical personnel and hospital workers in the city should get vaccinated.
“From hospital superintendents to janitors, even workers in charge of the laundry, they all must be vaccinated. Otherwise the hospital system’s operations will be jeopardized,” Ko said.
After the first doses arrived in the nation, Taiwanese had for weeks been reluctant to get vaccinated, but demand has risen since an accelerating COVID-19 outbreak started last week.
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