Photo: Image used for illustration purposes only (source: www.theguardian.com)

BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Friday 19th March 2020)-Medical Chief of Staff at the Joseph N. France General Hospital Dr. Cameron Wilkinson and member of the National COVID-19 Task Force has addressed public concerns about the safeness of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine blood clotting side effects reported in some European countries, citing data from the World Health Organization (WHO) which indicates there has been no serious side effects or deaths.

“Some persons ask if the Oxforford/AstraZeneca vaccine is safe. Health authorities in several European countries suspended the use of AstraZeneca vaccines following reports of the formation of blood clots in some persons who were vaccinated. It is important to note that blood clots can occur naturally and are not uncommon.”

Dr. Wilkinson made the disclosure at the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) COVID-19 Briefing held on Wednesday 17th March 2021.
“The WHO data shows that of the 268 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines that were administered worldwide, no serious side effects or deaths have been found to be caused by them. 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 that were identified and that vaccination should continue,” he pointed out.

According to Dr. Wilkinson: “Even in Denmark where the roll out was suspended for 14 days, the director of the National board there said while the investigations are taking place there is good evidence that the vaccine is both safe and effective. The European Medical Regulator [EMR] says that there is no indication that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is linked to an increased risk of blood clots…they say the number of cases in vaccinated people was no higher than that of the general population. There were 37 cases of persons who developed blood clots from 17 million persons   who received the jab in Europe.

He noted that 2% of persons who get COVD-19 disease develop blood clots and of the 17 million persons in Europe who got the vaccination, the 37 persons who got the blood clots, this comes to 0.002 per cent.
“In other words, you’re currently 10,000 times more likely to get a clot if you got COVID-19 disease than if you got the vaccine if there was found to be a link, and that is why they say the benefits of getting the vaccine far outweigh the risk.”

Dr. Wilkinson also touched on persons questioning whether they can delay taking the vaccine.

“We are actually in a race against time to stop the virus from developing more variants and claiming more lives in the process. There is therefore no time to wait. The more people who are vaccinated, the sooner we can eliminate the virus. The pandemic is like a fire that is about to engulf your home. You must use the vaccine that we have available now to put out the fire before it consumes you and your family. Turning a blind eye to reality does not eradicate the problem at hand. To date, more than 2.6 million persons are dead from this virus and more will be lost if we don’t take action. We, do however, have the tools to prevent the spread of this deadly virus and to limit the death toll  by simply following the instructions based on science and the acceptance of a vaccine that we know is safe and effective.”

“Despite all the hard work we have done here to contain the virus here, everything can be lost by a few irresponsible persons. We must all work together and make our country safe. We must not hesitate and get vaccinated as soon as we can. The vaccine is guaranteed to protect you. It can prevent you from getting sick, from getting severe disease, from being hospitalized and more importantly from dying,” he cautioned.
A total of 7071 individuals in St.Kitts-Nevis have taken the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine following the official national roll out on Monday 22 February.

One additional case of COVID-19 was recorded on Wednesday 17th March. There are currently two active cases out of the 44 confirmed with 30 St.Kitts and 14 on Nevis.