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Questions Persist, But Vaccination is Seen as the Only Path to Economic Survival


by Kevon Browne

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Officials are encouraging people to get vaccinated so the magical number of 33,037, seventy percent of the adult population can be quickly attained, allowing a reboot of the vital tourism industry.

So far 9,540 people – close to 29 percent of the population – have received their first jabs with their second doses secured for appointments 10 weeks later.

Those first jabs were donations of 2,000 vaccines from Dominica and 20,000 donated from the government of India, 2,000 of which were donated to Grenada. Tuesday 21,600 vaccines were due to arrive sourced through COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access or COVAX.

The vaccine available is the Oxford/AstraZeneca (now called Vaxzevria).

AstraZeneca has faced several unfavourable reports since its roll-out. It was reportedly ineffective against the South African variant of COVID-19 after that country had procured some one million doses and was expected to receive another 500,000, according to a March 21 article on Reuters.

Some countries in the European Union, namely Sweden, Latvia, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Denmark, Norway, and The Netherlands, among others, paused the administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine over fears that some people had reported an issue with blood clots.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced on March 31, “At present, the review has not identified any specific risk factors, such as age, gender or a previous medical history of clotting disorders, for these very rare events. A causal link with the vaccine is not proven but is possible and further analysis is continuing.”

According to Reuters; “There is a link between AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine and very rare blood clots in the brain but the possible causes are still unknown, a senior official for the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said in an interview published on Tuesday (April 6).”

Marco Cavaleri, chair of the vaccine evaluation team at the EMA, told Italian daily Il Messaggero when asked about the possible relation between the AstraZeneca shot and cases of brain blood clots, “In my opinion, we can now say it, it is clear that there is an association with the vaccine. However, we still do not know what causes this reaction,”

Regulators still suggest the benefits of taking the vaccine far outweigh the risks of not taking it.

There are now 44 reports, out of 9.2 million people who took AstraZeneca, of an extremely rare brain clotting ailment known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST). The Caribbean Public Health Agency, last month was at pains to assure the region that the version and batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine being used in the Caribbean was not the same as the one in Europe.

The Chief Medical Officer Dr. Hazel Laws and Medical Chief of Staff of the Joseph N France General Hospital, Dr. Cameron Wilkinson have taken the vaccine and have encouraged everyone to do so as quickly as possible.

With thousands unemployed in the tourism and service industries and even more businesses likely to close their doors due to economic hardship, the vaccine seems to offer the only pathway to economic revival.


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