No rare side effect of AstraZeneca vaccine in Jamaica – Tufton Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Health and Wellness Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, has declared that there is no record of any Jamaican having suffered the rare side effects of blood clots as a result of receiving doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

“There are no reports to date of any cases in Jamaica of persons suffering that… rare side effects involving the AstraZeneca (vaccine),” said Tufton.

Speaking at a post-Cabinet press briefing on Wednesday, the minister said it would be “impossible” for persons who took the vaccine to have those specific side-effects years after taking the vaccine.

The Health and Wealth Ministry has been criticised for its perceived silence following news that arose days ago that AstraZeneca had requested that the European authorisation for its COVID-19 vaccine be pulled.

Some media reports had cited concerns regarding some individuals developing blood clots as a rare side effect of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

AstraZeneca said its Vaxzevria brand of the vaccine “can, in very rare cases, cause TTS (thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome)”.

Tufton said such foreign media reports may have not captured accurately the notification that was issued by pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

“I believe, too, that when AstraZeneca sent out the notification, it was a notification to discontinue production, and there seemed to have been some interpretation or extreme interpretation that it was a notification based on a recognition, maybe, that the vaccine somehow was going to create an adverse reaction to people who have taken it,” the minister said.

“The dialogue around it in the country, and you know, unfortunately, some have sort of exaggerated it,” Tufton said, pointing to the local anti-vaccine movement and the “toxic” political climate locally.

As a result, he said the interpretations on the notification from AstraZeneca were “extreme” and “unfortunate”.

Tufton said Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie, will continue to monitor the developments surrounding AstraZeneca, and update the country accordingly.

Meanwhile, he said the Government only used COVID-19 vaccines in Jamaica under circumstances that were subjected to “very stringent” validation.