Jamaica Quit Using Astrazeneca Covid-19 Vaccine Almost 2 Years Ago Says Chief Medic.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons. The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has been offidially withdrawn from the market.
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Jamaica’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie, has said  that Jamaica discontinued use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine almost two years ago in July 2022.

The Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID‑19 vaccine, was also sold under the brand names Covishield and Vaxzevria. Although widely used initially it was found to cause potentially deadly blood clotting in a small number of patients.

An application for its withdrawal globally took effect on May 7, and prior to that, the pharmaceutical company manufacturing the vaccine admitted in court documents that, in rare cases, it can cause blood clots.

Addressing concerns during Wednesday’s post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, Dr. Bisasor-McKenzie, said the vaccine is not being administered in Jamaica anymore, “simply because it has not been on the market.”

“Since July 2022, that was when our last dose of AstraZeneca, the set that we had, expired, [and] we have not been offering AstraZeneca anymore.

“[Regarding] the side effects I note that persons are concerned about, [these] tend to happen between three days to three months. So some persons are wondering ‘if I had received AstraZeneca then, in 2021 and early 2022, am I still going to have this possibility of these side effects?’ And the answer is no,” she said.

The CMO advised that the Ministry of Health and Wellness continues to collate information on persons who think they may have suffered side effects and investigates them to see if they are in fact related to the vaccine.

She explained that all medications have side effects, pointing out that in the very early clinical studies that were conducted, the rare side effect was not discovered.

Dr. Bisasor-McKenzie shared that the complication is very rare, occurring in about two per 100,000 people.

“Certainly, the process of any new drug being released on the market does not stop at clinical studies. After the medication is being used, then you have post market surveillance that continues… to assess if there are any effects from the vaccine,” she outlined.

The CMO said the Ministry continues to vaccinate against COVID-19, using the World Health Organization (WHO) guidance on boosters.

Source: Jamaica GIS.
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