Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 17, 2021 (SKNIS): In just over three weeks, 6,903 persons or 20.9 percent of the target population in St. Kitts & Nevis have been vaccinated, reported Medical Chief of Staff at the JNF General Hospital, Dr. Cameron Wilkinson, who reaffirmed that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is safe.
Dr. Wilkinson was at the time speaking on the radio and television programme “Leadership Matters” on March 16.
He noted that the first jab of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine offers 76 percent efficacy after the first dose and rises to 82 percent after the second shot.
He added that the effectiveness of preventing hospitalization, severe disease, and death is even higher as more persons get vaccinated in order that the nation reaches herd immunity.
“The vaccine is free, safe, and effective and available in all 11 health centers in St. Kitts and six in Nevis,” he said. “I encourage all who are eligible for the vaccine to take advantage of the opportunity.”
Dr. Wilkinson said that health authorities in several countries including Denmark, Norway, and Iceland have suspended the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine following reports of the formation of blood clots in some persons who have been vaccinated. Also, France, Italy and Germany, and Austria have stopped the use of a certain batch of the vaccine out of an abundance of precaution.
The Medical Chief of Staff noted that blood clots can occur naturally and are not uncommon.
“The World Health Organization (WHO) said that its Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety is currently reviewing the report,” he said. “The WHO data show that more than 268 million doses of COVID-19 Vaccines have been administered worldwide with no serious side effects or deaths to date.”
“They have continued to report that AstraZeneca is an excellent vaccine and that no causal relationship has been established between the shots and the health problems reported,” he added.
Dr. Wilkinson stated that the Director of the National Board of Health in Denmark insisted that the 14-day suspension was a precaution, while investigations were taking place.
“He said there is good evidence that the vaccine is both safe and effective,” Dr. Wilkinson said. “The European Medical Regulators say there is no indication that the Oxford-AstraZeneca Vaccine is linked to an increased risk of blood clots. It said the number of cases in vaccinated people was no higher than in the general population.”
There were 37 cases of persons who developed blood clots of 17 million persons in Europe who received the jab, said Dr. Wilkinson.
“Of note, two percent of persons who get COVID-19 develop blood clots,” he informed. “Of the 17 million who got the vaccine in Europe 37 were found to develop blood clots, which is 0.0002 percent. In other words, currently, you are 10,000 times more likely to get a clot from the disease than the vaccine if it was associated with the clots. This is why they say the benefits outweigh the risks”
Dr. Wilkinson said that AstraZeneca company released its report on March 14, stating that “a careful review of all available safety data of more than 17 million people vaccinated in the European Union with COVID-19 Vaccine, AstraZeneca has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep venous thrombosis, or thrombosis pedia in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country.”
The WHO on March 14 also said that “there is no evidence that the incidences are caused by the vaccine and it is important that vaccination campaigns continue so that we can save lives and stem severe disease of the virus.” -30-