The safety of COVID-19 vaccine
Written by Radio Caribbean International on March 16, 2021
The Ministry of Health and Wellness has noted that some countries in the European Union have suspended the use of a specific batch of Astra Zeneca Vaccine distribution, after reports of rare blood coagulation disorders in persons who received it from that specific batch. A full investigation was carried out to determine whether there was a link between the vaccine and the disorder.
In a report dated March 14, 2021, Astra Zeneca has indicated that safety is of paramount importance and the Company is continually monitoring the safety of its vaccine. After a review of all available safety data of more than 17 million people vaccinated in the European Union and UK with COVID-19 Vaccine Astra Zeneca has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis or any blood clotting disorders in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country.
In terms of quality, they indicated that there are no confirmed issues related to any batch of this vaccine used across Europe, or the rest of the world. Additional testing continues both by the company and independently by European health authorities and none of these re-tests have shown cause for concern.
According to the World Health Organisation WHO, they are aware that as a precautionary measure, a few countries in the European Union have suspended use of a specific batch of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. The World Health Organisation emphasizes on the need to note that “the vaccine’s benefits continue to outweigh its risk, and the vaccine can continue to be administered while investigation of cases of thromboembolic events is ongoing.”
The World Health Organization WHO is also aware of reports of a rare blood coagulation disorder in people who have received the vaccine from that particular batch. It is emphasized that vaccination against COVID-19 will not reduce deaths from other causes. Deaths from other causes will continue to occur, including after vaccination, but generally unrelated.
The World Health Organisation Global Advisory Committee remains committed to systematically reviewing any vaccine safety signals and concerns related to COVID-19 vaccine safety. The Committee meets every two weeks to advise the World Health Organisation on any new safety signals and concerns related to COVID-19 vaccine.
On March 12, 2021 the Caribbean Public Health Agency also issued a statement in relation to the COVID-19 vaccines reassuring member states that the Caribbean Regulatory System (CRS) applies its reliance procedure to verify vaccines with emergency use authorization granted by stringent regulatory authorities of reference.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness has taken the position to continue the roll out of the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, despite suspensions in some European countries, given the stringent safety procedures that have been put in place before final authorization is given and the results of the investigations thus far.
The Ministry of Health assures the public that the decision made in regard to the COVID-19 vaccine is in the best interest of the population. The morbidity and mortality with respect to COVID-19 far outweighs any minor effects of the COVID-19 vaccine. We will continue monitoring the investigation and provide updates as received.
The public is further reminded to ensure that all their relatives 65 years and older and those with chronic conditions are registered at their nearest Community Wellness Center to receive the vaccine. Let’s keep our loved ones safe and protected.
For more information please contact the Office of the Chief Medical Officer or the Epidemiology Unit, at 468-5309/468-5317 respectively