Thailand's prime minister got an AstraZeneca COVID-19 shot in public, hoping to boost confidence after more than a dozen countries paused its use
  • Thailand’s prime minister became the first in the country to get the AstraZeneca vaccine Tuesday.
  • The country was going to start using the jab on Friday, but ended up waiting.
  • Numerous countries have paused their rollouts, but WHO has urged them to continue.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Thailand’s prime minister has taken a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, hoping to boost public confidence as more than a dozen other countries paused using the vaccine.

On Tuesday, Thai Prime Minster Prayuth Chan-ocha became the first person in the country to get the shot, Reuters reported. 

“Today I’m boosting confidence for the general public,” the leader told assembled press. According to Reuters, he later said he felt fine.

The country had suspended the vaccine’s rollout on Friday, the first Asian country to do so.

Nations around the world have been suspending use of the vaccine to investigate whether there is a link between the jab and people developing blood clots.

AstraZeneca, and some health authorities, have argued strongly that there is no proof for such a link.

Nonetheless, by Tuesday a total of 16 countries had paused the rollout as a precautionary measure, as Insider’s Dr Catherine Schuster-Bruce and Grace Dean reported. 

The source of the concern is cases in Denmark and Austria of people developing blood clots, or having blood coagulation problems, after having received the vaccine. 

After a review of data, AstraZeneca said on Sunday that there is currently no evidence linking the vaccine to the blood clotting, and that the incidence of blood clots was lower than would be expected to occur naturally, Al-Jazeera reported.

This got the backing of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Medicines Agency, according to the outlet.

The same day, the WHO urged the continued use of the vaccine, saying it had not found a link between it and the blood clots. Experts have said that the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh any risks. 

These endorsements are what prompted Thailand to re-join the vaccine’s rollout, and alongside Prime Minister Chan-ocha another 15 cabinet members were also vaccinated Tuesday, Al-Jazeera reported. 

The country plans to manufacture the AstraZeneca vaccine locally, and aims to start a mass vaccination drive in June when production is in full swing, the outlet reported.

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