No cases of blood clotting from AstraZeneca vaccines – Health Minister

Amid initial concerns regarding blood clotting with the AstraZeneca vaccine, Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony has assured that the World Health Organisation (WHO) through the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation (SAGE) has deemed it safe. This is after concluding that the benefits outweigh the risks.
“We have had a number of other expert entities review the vaccine, such as the European medical regulatory authority, and they concluded similarly that the vaccine benefits outweigh the risk…The AstraZeneca vaccine is right now used in many countries and because the benefits outweigh the risks, most countries that had initially put a pause on the vaccines have now restarted,” the Health Minister said during Thursday’s COVID-19 update.
Dr Anthony noted that among from the thousands of people immunised with the AstraZeneca shots in Guyana, there were no reported cases of blood clotting.
“We are very pleased with the results that we have had with these vaccines so far and we’ll continue to use them. Many of the persons who received the first dose would be due for their second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine maybe in a month’s time and we encourage them to come and take their second dose,” he urged.
Two versions of the vaccine – produced by AstraZeneca-SKBio (Republic of Korea) and the Serum Institute of India – have been listed for emergency use by the WHO. When the vaccine underwent SAGE consideration, it had undergone review by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
The EMA has thoroughly assessed the data on the quality, safety, and efficacy of the vaccine, and has recommended granting a conditional marketing authorisation for people aged 18 and above.
The WHO said this month, “The AstraZeneca vaccine is safe and effective at protecting people from the extremely serious risks of COVID-19, including death, hospitalisation and severe disease.”
Apart from the AstraZeneca vaccine, Guyana has also been using Sinopharm and Sputnik V, manufactured by China and Russia respectively. Earlier this week, a consignment of 83,000 Sputnik V vaccines landed in Guyana, as part of Government’s purchase that would immunise 200,000 persons.
The doses sent were divided into 43,000 first doses and 40,000 second doses. In recent weeks, some 55,000 first doses have already been sent to Guyana.
Two months into its vaccination campaign, the Health Ministry has successfully managed to deliver a first dose to 100,000 persons.
Health Minister Anthony said this feat was possible through continuous efforts from health teams, the Joint Services, and other stakeholders throughout the country – moving Guyana one step closer to herd immunity in 2021.
Of the 100,000 persons who received their first dose, a fraction has already returned for their second shot.
“I think the people that we need to congratulate are those that have been actively working across the country to make sure that people get their vaccines. Those persons include the staff of the Ministry of Health. We also have members of the Joint Services who have been working tirelessly with us and along with many volunteers without whom this would not have been possible…We hope that they continue working with us as we work towards the goal of reaching herd immunity sometime during this year,” the Minister highlighted. (G12)