France, German, Spain, and Italy have become the latest countries to suspend the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
Over a dozen other countries in Europe have paused the distribution of the shot following concerns that it could be linked to blood clots.
The vaccine has not been approved for use in the United States, but most Caribbean countries have been administering the shots to their population.
Since countries began suspending the use of the vaccine last week, many Jamaicans have raised concerns about the shot.
Put President of the Medical Association Andrew Manning says that there is no reason for Jamaica to pause the vaccine rollout, but noted that some of his members have also raised questions.
“Some are concerned and would want to see further studies, but most doctors that I’ve spoken to recognize that it hasn’t been shown that blood clotting is related to the vaccine itself. A lot of these countries have paused it out of an abundance of caution,” he said while on a local radio program.
Dr. Manning says he and his colleagues are confident that the vaccine is safe, but says that medical professionals should continue to monitor its effects.
“My view is that it’s a safe vaccine, and it’s safer to take the vaccine than to not take it. But it’s also something that we have to continue to monitor,” he added.
Manning’s comments were also echoed by the island’s minister of health and wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton who said that the government is comfortable with its distribution of the vaccine.
“Our position remains the same, informed by the WHO, that the vaccine is safe,” said Tufton today as he visited vaccination sites across central Jamaica.
“We’re comfortable with what we have received from the experts, including our own experts, but also at the level of the expert committee of the WHO,” he said, noting that “millions of people have taken it and the side effects have been minimal to date”.
AstraZeneca said a review of 17 million people in the United Kingdom and Europe who’ve received the vaccine found that fewer than 40 developed blood clots.