WHO-backed COVAX donates first AstraZeneca vaccines to Nicaragua

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Nicaragua received a first batch of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses, touting the inoculations donated through the World Health Organisation's global vaccine-sharing COVAX programme.

Officials with the WHO's Americas branch PAHO said COVAX had donated 135,000 doses and that Nicaragua would receive more shots through the COVAX mechanism at the end of March, but did not specify how many.

Nicaraguan Vice President Rosario Murillo said earlier on Tuesday the COVAX programme had provided 137,000 doses.

In late February, Nicaragua received its first batch of vaccine doses from an initial donation of Russia's Sputnik V product and has begun inoculating people with pre-existing conditions such as heart disease, kidney failure and cancer.

India has also already donated 200,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Nicaragua, and has agreed to deliver an additional 300,000 doses.

It comes as global health experts are seeking to clear up questions about the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine with around a dozen European countries suspending its use over a possible heightened risk of blood clots.

Europe's medicines regulator is investigating and is expected to release its findings on Thursday.

Meanwhile, British health minister Matt Hancock said the AstraZeneca vaccine remained safe. 

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