Health Ministry reports 249 cases of vaccinated people with adverse reactionSaturday, July 31, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica— The Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) is reporting they have identified 249 instances of vaccinated people in Jamaica who may have had adverse reactions to the AstraZeneca vaccine since the start of the country's COVID-19 immunisation campaign.
This announcement was made at the ministry's COVID-19 Conversation on Thursday, when the Director of Family Health Services in the Ministry, Dr Melody Ennis, broke down the numbers, following growing public vaccine hesitancy.
“We have established a committee, this is a committee made up of persons who look specifically at events that are supposedly attributed specifically to vaccination or immunisation. These are whatever untoward events which may include deaths, disability - permanent or temporary, or hospitalisation, among other things,” Dr Ennis said, as she noted that the 249 cases came from the 305,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine administered.
“We do a classification of the [cases] that we received and of the 249, we have classified 46 as serious, now the classification that we used is an internationally accepted classification and be mindful that the persons on the committee here in Jamaica have been trained. They are clinicians with expert training in a particular field,” Ennis stated.
Adding that these serious cases went through full evaluations to determine the cause, Ennis said, “we have noted 11 persons that have died after receiving the vaccine, and when we do the [full] report we concluded that nine of those 11 persons' deaths were coincidental, so it was not caused by the vaccine, their deaths would have occurred whether they had the vaccine or not. It was just coincidental.”
“Two others, we have been able to ascertain as being indeterminate...you look at the level of evidence that shows that a vaccine could cause this illness and we found that there was no such body of evidence at this time and therefore the underlying illness that these two persons had possibly could have led to their deaths and it was indeterminate if the vaccine could have caused it but there is no such evidence at this time,” she added.
Clarifying that the other remaining numbers that made up the 46 cases, including allergic reactions, Ennis emphasised that all of those patients have fully recovered.
In addition she said, “we have identified three persons who we recommended based on our assessment that they should not receive the second dose of the vaccine. So there may be conditions that preclude, if you had a particular reaction after the first dose, once that assessment is done, we recommend that you do not take the second dose.”
Stressing that with vaccines there are a number of expected side effects, Ennis confirmed that these types of reports needed to facilitate more informed decisions locally and internationally.
“That is the extent of our investigation, to date, we continue to collect information from the field. We encourage people to report [adverse reactions]. The form is actually online for people to report adverse events. However, we do recommend that persons come in to us, so that we can assess them, allay fears and treat them if necessary,” Dr Ennis stated.
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