CARPHA Addresses Astrazeneca Vaccine Suspensions

(ANTIGUA OBSERVER) – The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has issued a statement addressing concerns after a number of countries, including Denmark and Norway, suspended the use of the Oxford-Astrazeneca jab.

CARPHA’s statement is below:

The Caribbean Public Health Agency is aware that some countries in the European Union have suspended their AstraZeneca vaccination campaign, as a result of reports of rare blood coagulation disorders in people who had received the vaccine. This was done as a precautionary measure while a full investigation is conducted into the reports.

At present, it cannot be determined whether there is a link between the vaccine and the disorders.

Adverse reactions that happen following immunisation with any vaccine need to be fully investigated to rule out various factors, for example concomitant illnesses, progression of a disease, and batch assessment, before a final decision is made by the health authorities.

It must be noted that the vaccine being used in the Caribbean is not the same version or batch as the one in Europe.

The World Health Organization’s Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) systematically reviews any vaccine safety signals and concerns related to COVID-19 vaccine safety. This committee is carefully assessing the current reports on the Astra Zeneca vaccine. As soon as WHO has gained a full understanding of these events, the findings and any changes to current recommendations will be immediately communicated to regional and international public health partners which includes CARPHA.

The WHO states that “Vaccination against COVID-19 will not reduce deaths from other causes. Deaths from other causes will continue to occur, including after vaccination, but causally unrelated. As of 9 March, over 268 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered since the start of the pandemic, based on data reported to WHO by national governments. No cases of death have been found to have been caused by COVID-19 vaccines to date.

We want to reassure our Member States that CARPHA’s Caribbean Regulatory System (CRS) applies its reliance procedure to verify vaccines with emergency use authorization granted by stringent regulatory authorities of reference.

CARPHA encourages persons who have been vaccinated with any of the COVID-19 vaccines available in their country, to report adverse events that occur after vaccination to the local health authorities.