THE Ministry of Health says there are no cases reported in Jamaica of potentially deadly blood clots as a side effect of the AstraZeneca vaccine which was widely used across the island in the battle against COVID-19.

AstraZeneca recently admitted that its vaccine can, in rare cases, lead to a side effect known as thrombosis with thrombocytopenia (TTS), whereby a person can suffer blood clots and also have a low platelet count.

Soon after this admission, the British firm announced it was withdrawing the vaccine globally.

This sparked concerns locally about the possible impact on the scores of Jamaicans who took the AstraZeneca vaccine during the pandemic.

But at a post-Cabinet media briefing on Wednesday, Jamaica’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie said the health ministry stopped using the AstraZeneca vaccine in July 2022 and it is unlikely that anyone who took it will now develop the potentially fatal blood clotting.

“The side effects that persons are concerned about tend to happen between three days and three months, so some persons are wondering, ‘If I had received AstraZeneca then, in 2021 and early 2022, am I the possibility of these side effects?’ And the answer is no,” said Bisasor-McKenzie as she pointed out that the health ministry continues to collect information on people who think they may have suffered side effects from the vaccine.

“The vaccine had gone through various studies and had proven to be highly effective, specifically in terms of reducing serious illnesses as well as reducing death,” added Bisasor-McKenzie, who noted that more the three-billion doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were produced worldwide and distributed.

She pointed out that all medications could have side effects but that the rare side effect of blood clots was not found at the time of the clinical tests.

Bisasor-McKenzie told the media briefing that by the second quarter of 2021 Jamaica’s health authorities were alerted that the AstraZeneca vaccine could have a side effect of blood clots but “this complication is extremely rare, occurring in about two per 100,000 persons where there is an association for the formation of clots, and within that group of persons who can have this effect, then, of course, you will have a small percentage of persons who will have serious outcomes.

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