Director of Family Health Services in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dr. Melody Ennis, is encouraging persons to report any adverse events from the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines.
“We continue to collect information from the field, we do encourage persons to report adverse events. We do recommend that persons come in to us so that we can assess them, we can allay fears and treat, if necessary,” Dr. Ennis said.
She was speaking during the Ministry’s virtual COVID Conversations press briefing on Thursday (July 29).
Dr. Ennis informed that a committee has been established, which is made up of clinicians, who look specifically at events supposedly attributable to vaccination or immunisation (ESAVI).
“These are whatever untoward events, which may include deaths, permanent or temporary disability or hospitalisation, among a few other things, looking to establish causality,” she explained.
She informed that to date, some 249 ESAVIs have been reported across the island from the administration of 305,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“We do a classification of the ESAVIs that we have received and of the 249, we have classified 46 as serious, and those went through the fulsome evaluation of causality. We have noted 11 persons that have died after receiving the vaccines and…we concluded that nine of those 11 persons, the deaths were coincidental,” Dr. Ennis said.
“So, it was not caused by the vaccine; their death would have occurred whether they had the vaccine or not. It was just coincidental. Two others we have been able to ascertain as being indeterminate,” she added.
Dr. Ennis further explained that “when you go through the form, you look at the level of evidence that shows that a vaccine could cause this illness and we found that there was no such body of evidence at this time.”
“Therefore, the underlying illnesses that these two persons had, possibly could have led to their death and it was indeterminate if the vaccines could have caused it. But there is no such evidence at this time,” Dr. Ennis said.
She further noted that the remaining number of persons, who were classified as having serious, adverse effects, had allergic reactions to the vaccine.
“All of those persons who had those reactions have fully recovered. We identified three persons, who we have recommended, based on our assessment, that they should not receive the second dose of the vaccine,” Dr. Ennis said.
Persons may report any adverse events from the vaccine at https://www.moh.gov.jm/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/AEFI-Reporting-Form_2021_v2.pdf.