By Kadeem Joseph
A noted health practitioner believes that the AstraZeneca vaccine is still a viable option for effective inoculation against the deadly Covid-19 virus, despite the European Medicines Agency (EMA) announcing that unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as very rare side effects of the shot.
On Wednesday, the EMA, a regulatory agency, advised that healthcare professionals and people receiving the vaccine to remain aware that very rare cases of blood clots combined with low levels of blood platelets occurring within two weeks of vaccination is a possibility.
Antiguan and Barbudan nephrologist and internal medicine specialist Dr George Mansoor underscored the rarity of such occurrences adding that based on the present statistical evidence, one in two million people could develop the complication.
“I think at the end of the day, you have to ask yourself a question: ‘Is it safer to proceed and be vaccinated where you can get a fair amount of protection against Covid-19’ versus saying ‘I won’t take it because I am afraid of this very rare condition that may occur one in two million doses’,” he added, once again stressing the rareness of the finding.
Dr Mansoor also used the influenza vaccine, which is taken by millions of people across the world every year, including Antigua and Barbuda, as an example.
He explained that this vaccine has a one in a million chance of causing rare neurological disorder known as Guillain-Barre Syndrome.
“The incidence of the cerebral sinus thrombosis [blood clot] is even less than that … I am not dismissing it but one has to really look at and analyse the situation in terms of what risk we are posing if we say we are not going to take the vaccine,” he added
The medical practitioner argued that without the vaccine, an individual opened to a much higher risk of contracting Covid-19 and its complications which include acute respiratory failure; cardiac, liver and kidney injury; blood clots and even death.
“It is not an easy decision but overall, to me, the benefits have been on showcase in the UK, in Israel and these countries that have had an aggressive vaccination strategy and you can see that Covid has been flattened and hopefully will be kept quiet,” Dr Mansoor added.
In Antigua and Barbuda, 27,032 people have taken their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine thus far, with no reports of blood clots among the recipients.
The have also been no publicised report within the Caribbean region thus far.