MoH reassures public of vaccine safety

James Kon

The Ministry of Health (MoH) yesterday reassured the public that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is safe to be used for the National Vaccination Programme following a careful review of available data and guidance from international regulatory agencies.

According to the MoH, the COVID-19 Vaccine Technical Committee has reviewed the ongoing reports of very rare cases of unusual blood clots associated with low numbers of platelets, in people vaccinated with AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine.

A number of countries in Europe and Australia have reported rare occurrence of abnormal clotting. So far, in the United Kingdom (UK) this adverse event has been reported in less than one in a million people vaccinated and can also occur naturally.

As such, there is no clear evidence of any causal link and the overall number of cases is very rare.

Based on the review of the available data, and in accordance with guidance from international regulatory agencies including the World Health Organization (WHO) and European Medicines Agency, the Ministry of Health is of the view that the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe for use, and the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks.

The public should continue to get their vaccine when invited to do so. As an added precaution, members of the public who have recently been vaccinated and subsequently develop any of these symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling, and persistent abdominal pain should seek immediate medical attention.

Additionally, anyone with neurological symptoms including severe or persistent headaches or blurred vision after vaccination, or who experiences skin bruising (petechia) beyond the site of vaccination after a few days, should seek prompt medical attention.

For further and latest information, members of the public can visit the MoH’s website at www.moh.gov.bn or contact the Health Advice Line at 148 during office hours.