Government assures safety of AstraZeneca vaccine

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –The Government today assured the safety of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine despite concerns raised in some countries.

Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi told Parliament today that despite fears of blood clots linked to the vaccine reported in various countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) has advised to continue with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

She further revealed that three people had died due to blood clots after receiving the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine in Sri Lanka.

Minister Wanniarachchi said they were among six people who had suffered from blood clots after receiving the vaccine.

Health Experts from the World Health organization who had reviewed the cases have determined that the blood clots are not linked to the vaccine.

They have further announced that it is inevitable for nearly 4-5 people per million in the population to die of blood clots linked to the vaccine, she said.

The Health Minister said however, the WHO has assured the safety of the vaccine and has instructed to continue the administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

She further said the public are provided a health briefing prior to receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine in Sri Lanka.

A special hotline has been introduced for people to inform if they are suffering from any discomfort or side-effects after receiving the vaccine. The public have been instructed to contact health authorities via 0112 3415989.

A special Unit consisting of specialist doctors has also been set up at the National Hospital in Colombo for public suffering from side-effects due to the vaccine to consult and receive medical attention.

The Public have also been instructed to immediately seek medical attention if they are suffering from throat aches, breathing difficulties, or leg pain four days after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine, the Health Minister briefed Parliament.

Stating that the Government has not suspended administering the vaccine, Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said all preparations have been completed to provide the second dose.

She said the inoculation of the second dose for those who have received the AstraZeneca vaccine for the first jab will commence from the 1st week of May.

The Health Minister further cautioned Parliamentarians to refrain from spreading misinformation on the vaccine, as it has resulted in breaking the Public’s trust in the vaccination process.

Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi called on all MPs, as responsible public representatives, to verify their facts prior to raising questions in Parliament linked to coronavirus vaccines.

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