The country’s top medical official is touting the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine which has been the subject of skepticism due to its link to rare blood clots.
Earlier this month, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced that unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as a very rare side effect of the shot.
Despite that, many professionals in the medical field have insisted that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks.
Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Rhonda Sealey-Thomas explained that the clots are extremely rare with about 200 million people already receiving the shots, with only 79 reported cases of blood clots and 19 deaths associated with them.
This, she said, essentially means that 1 in every 250,000 people have experienced clots after getting the vaccine.
“Both the regulatory authorities in the United Kingdom, Europe, WHO and PAHO, their technical groups on vaccination, have all looked at the information. Our technical working group on vaccination in Antigua has also reviewed the literature and data and will continue doing so,” Sealey-Thomas said.
Meanwhile, the CMO also acknowledged and emphasised concern for residents who are experiencing Covid-19 fatigue. This refers to a person’s ability to cope mentally, emotionally and physically with physical distancing and others requirements, or people who have reached their capacity.
Pointing to the fact that health officials have not been immune to these feelings either, Dr Sealey- Thomas spoke to the importance of remaining vigilant and doing what is possible to reduce possible risks of contracting the virus.
“One of the great public health measures that has been introduced in Antigua and Barbuda to fight Covid-19 is the administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and we are just urging members of the general public to continue coming forward to ensure they get their first doses of the vaccine,” the CMO said.