The Ministry of Health & Wellness (MOHW), acting on information from the World Health Organisation (WHO), has advised the public that the WHO’s Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety is carefully assessing all reports on vaccines being administered.
In a statement issued recently, the WHO advised that there was no reason to stop using the AstraZeneca vaccine though some countries in Europe and elsewhere have moved to halt its use over concerns about blood clots.
The MOHW reminds the public that vaccination against COVID-19 will not reduce deaths from other causes. Deaths from other causes will continue to occur, including after vaccinations, but not causally related.
“WHO is aware that, as a precautionary measure, a few countries in the European Union (EU) have suspended use of a specific batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine distributed in the EU, based on reports of rare blood coagulation disorders in persons who had received vaccine from that particular batch. This was decided as a precaution whilst a full investigation is finalised,” the WHO said in a statement made public via its website at https://www.who.int/news-room/news-updates.
“It is important to note that the European Medicines Agency’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee position is that the vaccine’s benefits continue to outweigh its risks, and the vaccine can continue to be administered while investigation of cases of thromboembolic events is ongoing,” the WHO added.
Further, the WHO has advised that it is doing its own investigations into the matter.
“WHO’s Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) systematically reviews any vaccine safety signals and concerns related to COVID-19 vaccine safety, and meets every two weeks to advise WHO on any new safety signals or concerns related to COVID-19 vaccines. The GACVS is carefully assessing the current reports on the AstraZeneca vaccine,” it noted.
“As soon as WHO has gained a full understanding of these events, the findings and any changes to current recommendations will be immediately communicated to the public,” it added.
Meanwhile, according to the WHO, as at March 9, more than 268 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered since the start of the pandemic, with no cases of death having been found to have been caused by COVID-19 vaccines.
Jamaica’s own vaccination programme began on March 10, with more than 3,000 persons now vaccinated. Only 12 persons have so far reported side effects – all of them mild and including rash, swelling, dizziness, and nausea.
The MOHW will keep the public updated on any and all future developments. At the same time, members of the public are encouraged to remain vigilant in their adherence to infection prevention and control measures, notably, wear your masks; maintain your physical distance from others; and frequently wash and/or sanitise hands.
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