Health Minister: No reports of blood clots from COVID-19 vaccines in Guyana

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Guyana has now given more than 100,000 people their first dose of one of the three COVID-19 vaccines it managed to secure and Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony, highlighted that there have been no recorded incidents of blood clots.

A few weeks ago, numerous countries in Europe suspended the rollout of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine after rare blood clots were discovered in a small group of people. This led to investigations being conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

“We were satisfied that when we used it (the AstraZeneca vaccine) in Guyana, we did not have any cases of blood clotting and we have been monitoring these cases. We are very pleased with the results that we have been having so far and we’ll continue to use them,” Dr Anthony said, during his daily COVID-19 briefing on Thursday.

Guyana has been using the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, produced by the Serum Institute of India. The country received 3,000 doses of this vaccine from Barbados, following a donation from India. Then, Guyana received its own donation of 80,000 doses from India. Subsequently, the COVAX Facility, the global mechanism created to ensure some vaccine equity, sent 24,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to Guyana.

This vaccine is administered in two doses, given three months apart. And, on Thursday, the Health Minister said that the initial set of people who received this vaccine would be due for their vaccine by next month. He encouraged those people to come forward and get their second dose.

Following the investigations into the blood clots in Europe, the EMA said that the vaccine’s benefits continue to outweigh the risks. Additionally, WHO Spokesperson, Margaret Harris, said that the WHO expert advisory committee on vaccine safety was reviewing the reports of the blood clots and would later issue a report on the findings of the review.

She, however, highlighted that the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is an “excellent vaccine”. She also noted that no causal relationship had been established between it and the health problems (blood clots) reported.

More recently, the WHO, in reviewing the latest evidence on the blood clots noted that a “very rare” new type of adverse event called Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS), which involved unusual and severe blood clotting events associated with low platelet counts has been reported after vaccination with the two AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccines.

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