The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment says it is aware that as a precautionary measure, a few countries in Europe have suspended use of a specific batch of AstraZeneca vaccine distributed in the EU.
This is based on reports of “rare blood coagulation disorders” in persons who had received vaccines from a particular batch, the ministry said in a statement on Friday.
The ministry said that the World Health Organization notes that this decision is but a precaution, whilst a full investigation is finalised.
“WHO is emphasizing that the vaccine’s benefits continue to outweigh its risks, and can continue to be administered while these investigations are ongoing,” the ministry said.
It added that 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 Astra Zeneca vaccine. The WHO says as soon as it has gained a full understanding of these events, the findings and any changes to current recommendations will be immediately communicated to the public.
“Vaccination against COVID-19 will not reduce deaths from other causes. Deaths from other causes will continue to occur, including after vaccination, but causally unrelated,” the ministry said.
The statement continued:
“So far, over 268 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered since the start of the pandemic, based on data reported to WHO by national governments. No cases of death have been found to have been caused by COVID-19 vaccines to date. This is also true here in St Vincent and the Grenadines and in neighbouring countries Barbados, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda and St Kitts and Nevis where no adverse reactions and or deaths related to administering of the Astra Zeneca vaccine, have been recorded.
“The Ministry wishes to advise that the vaccine continues to be safe and does what it purports to that is, reduce the severity of illness from COVID-19 and reduce the likelihood of hospitalization and possible deaths.
“The Ministry of Health will continue to be guided by any and all findings and changes if any, in respect of administering the Astra Zeneca vaccine.”