‘Benefits of having vaccine far outweigh any potential risks’

BENEFITS of getting the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine far outweigh the risks, Director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink has said, as she confirmed the jab would continue to be given in Guernsey.

Of the 25,965 doses of vaccine given so far in the Bailiwick, 10,315 were the AstraZeneca vaccine. (29336915)
Of the 25,965 doses of vaccine given so far in the Bailiwick, 10,315 were the AstraZeneca vaccine. (29336915)

Of the 25,965 doses of vaccine given so far in the Bailiwick, 10,315 were the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Dr Brink said that while a small number of mild side-effects had been reported, none related to blood clots.

The statement follows the suspension of the jab in several countries, including France, Germany and Ireland, over reports of a very small number of patients suffering clots after getting the vaccine.

Dr Brink said Guernsey officials were keeping the situation under careful review and that the safety of islanders will always come first.

‘Based on the information we have, it is our recommendation that islanders should still come forward for vaccination when they are called,’ she said.

‘We know that people reading and listening to the news will be worried about having their vaccination if they have been allocated the AstraZeneca vaccine. Unfortunately, it is not possible for people to be able to choose which vaccine they are given. The doses are allocated according to our delivery schedules.

‘We will continue to monitor the information from the European Medicines Agency, the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation and will provide updates on their investigations into the very small numbers of cases who developed blood clots.

‘Updates will be given as regularly as we are able.

‘In the meantime, the benefits of having the vaccine far outweigh any potential risks or side-effects and we would urge everyone who has been invited to have the vaccine so far to attend their appointments – or schedule their appointments as soon as possible.’

Guernsey medical director Dr Peter Rabey said there was no conclusive link between the vaccine and the blood clot cases.

‘We have seen the benefits of the vaccination programme in the second wave of infection in Guernsey where many of the most vulnerable islanders were protected against the severe consequences of infection,’ he said.

‘I would therefore also encourage islanders to come forward for vaccination.’

The Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee of the European Medicines Agency is considering cases of thromboembolic events related to AstraZeneca’s vaccine, but the organisation says the benefits of vaccination still outweigh any risks.

‘The number of thromboembolic events in vaccinated people is no higher than the number seen in the general population,’ the EMA said in a statement.

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