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Vaccine supplies facing problem

A bottle of the AstraZeneca vaccine is displayed in London. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

A bottle of the AstraZeneca vaccine is displayed in London. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

By TANYA SMITH-CARTWRIGHT

tsmith-cartwright@tribunemedia.net

A PAN American Health Organisation official has said there will be a short period of “limited access” to the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine due to shipment and manufacturing issues.

The Bahamas has administered over 15,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine so far.

The country first received 20,000 doses as a gift from the Indian government and then another 33,600, through the PAHO generated COVAX programme.

Between both sources some 53,600 doses have been received into the country since March.

Dr Jarbas Barbosa, assistant director, PAHO, made the announcement during the organisation’s weekly COVID-19 webinar update, but assured the public that there will still be some access to the vaccine up to May.

“The AstraZeneca manufacturer in India had problems to receive the export licence to ship to other countries,” he said. “Also, because the AstraZeneca manufacturer in South Korea had to reduce their capacity to less than 50 percent for February and March shipments so we are trying to widen access through COVAX. AstraZeneca will begin to deliver to new manufacturing sites – one in Italy and one in Spain – which will increase production.

“Vaccines manufacturers have already committed 20 percent of the population of all participating countries. That is their commitment, but in the current trend where about 70 percent of shipments will be happening starting June, but by the end of April and in May we will still have limited access.”

Two days ago, the United States paused usage of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccination after the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it had to examine reports of rare blood-clotting disorder that emerged in six recipients.

Reports said that all six of the recipients were females between the ages of 18 and 48, and all developed the clots within one to three weeks of taking the vaccination. One woman in Virginia died, and a second woman in Nebraska has been hospitalised in critical condition.

The Tribune asked Dr Barbosa if distribution of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine has started in the region and what does the pause mean to the flow of vaccinations arriving.

He responded: “We haven’t started distribution of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine in the region. We will be starting to distribute it in June or July. We are in negotiations with the producer to establish the final agreement to receive the vaccines. It is important to clarify that when a vaccine presents all the data related to clinical trials, a lot of information is presented about the safety of the vaccine.

“When a vaccine is given authorisation for emergency use, they look into the data and the benefits of the vaccine outweighs any risk the vaccine can present. This is the same procedure that the regulators used for any vaccine or any medicine that is to be used by populations. Every vaccine can present some side effects. The problem is to see if these side effects are in a number that is acceptable.”

PAHO’s assistant director went on to downplay the pause on administering the drug saying it is a standard procedure and the benefits are far more than the risks.

“So, what we have with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is very important evidence that the surveillance system identified,” he said, continuing. “We had a very small number of cases, very rare events that were detected. The United States decided to pause the vaccine use (Johnson and Johnson) for a couple of days while they review the data.

“This is a standard procedure. Remember in February we had a similar situation in some countries with the Pfizer vaccine. They paused the use and then after one or two weeks and when it was totally clear they started to reuse the vaccine. This is the process now. The benefits outweigh by far any possible issues. Let us remember that COVID -19 is a very severe disease that is producing hundreds of thousands of deaths in the world.

He noted that some 734,000,000 different vaccinations have been applied around the world.

More than seven million people in the United States have received Johnson and Johnson shots so far, and some 10 million doses have been shipped out to the states, according to data from the CDC.

Dr Carissa Etienne, director of PAHO said despite ongoing transmission in many places, restrictions have been relaxed, crowds are gathering, and people are taking public transportation, often without masks.

She said the region is not acting like it is in the midst of a worsening outbreak.

She said: “More people have been infected with COVID in our region in the last seven days than most of the weekly case averages we saw last year. And our weekly deaths outnumber those of any week in 2020. There are simply not enough vaccines available to protect everyone in the countries at greatest risk.”

She said she cannot stress enough that for most countries, vaccines are not going to stop this wave of the pandemic.

Comments

carltonr61 3 years, 2 months ago

The experts need to explain if Covid made extinct our seasonal medical flu, runny nose, spring allergies, breathing difficulties, common cold, and Pneumonia. Further, last year if PAHO can recall we where in house, economic and social jail or lock down. Facts remain, AstraZeneca has been deemed a strange medical character and unfit for use as the risks far out way getting sick from Covid, for which 99.9% of the persons who do get ill survive. Like cattle we have been in economic and social jail noe over an inhumane and unscientific 407 days. Please release us from these global elite poodles.

newcitizen 3 years, 2 months ago

Dude, if you don't want to get vaccinated, then don't. Why are you just posting the same junk over and over here?

JokeyJack 3 years, 2 months ago

You seem to be under the illussion that it will remain voluntary. They move the goalposts every week. When you wake up it will be too late.

JokeyJack 3 years, 2 months ago

407 days??? Really??? I thought it was only 15 days to slow the spread. I would call you a liar except for the fact that we're not allowed to call anyone liars anymore. Claiming without evidence? Yeah, that's the new phrase.

FreeUs242 3 years, 2 months ago

The new cold war on destructive vaccines...

tribanon 3 years, 2 months ago

Governments around the world were pushing for vaccinations on an emergency basis like there was no tomorrow. Now many of these same governments are suddenly putting the brakes on under the guise of either vaccine production shortages, supply chain problems or the need to conduct additional studies on serious health risks they might pose.

In the meantime, the deadly Communist China Virus appears to have taken a backseat to the many other health issues, including mental health issues, that were caused or exacerbated by draconian government measures targeted at population control through the reduction of civil rights and liberties in (what were) democratic societies around the world.

All people everywhere need to start asking questions about who exactly were the key orchestrators of this massive experiment on human behaviour, who facilitated the experimenters and for what purpose, and what hellish life do they next have planned for us if they are not held accountable for the grievous harm they have either caused or facilitated.

Only the most simple minded among us will blame all of what's happened over the past year and half on COVID-19 alone.

John 3 years, 2 months ago

So the vaccine companies are trying to explain away the blood clots by now saying that persons who developed these clots Han ( knowingly or unknowingly) had the Covid-19 virus before taking the vaccine and it was not the vaccine that caused the clot. So what do they do now? Test individuals for the corona antibodies and suggest they not take the vaccine or take another one rather than the AstraGenica? And the Johnson and Johnson has slipped out of place from being the most popular because of its own issues and problems, including mix up in batches. My personal opinion is that everyone needs to calm down, slow down and gather their wits about them. Go back to enforcing the emergency safety protocols whilst these vaccines work their problems out. Not to say to discontinue distribution of vaccines, but limited to people who really want to take the risk of taking them persons who really feel they are at risk of contracting the disease and developing serious complications or even dying from the virus.

JokeyJack 3 years, 2 months ago

As our fervent prayers go up daily, let us celebrate every obstacle placed in the path of The Beast and his efforts to distribute his mark. God is smiting them with confusion and errors just like those builders of the Tower of Babel.

John 3 years, 2 months ago

Maybe I am wrong but have you ever seen someone pour cold water on red hot burning coals? Well that is the impression of taking a ‘below freezing temperature’ vaccine and inject into a 97.5 F blood stream. Or even putting ice in a frying Pan even.

alleycat 3 years, 2 months ago

Chance of getting blood clots from: 1. AstraZeneca vaccine. 0.00004% 2. Birth control pills. 0.05% 3. Smoking. 0.18% 4. Covid. 16.5% I’ll take the vaccine, thanks.

tribanon 3 years, 2 months ago

I would think long and hard before considering yourself smarter than a rapidly growing number of the world's leading health officials who are speaking out in support of the ever increasing number of countries that are putting the brakes on certain of these vaccines for whatever reason. Suggest you at least get yourself tested to make sure you haven't already developed a strong natural immunity to COVID-19 and other common 'cold' corona viruses.

I'm no medical doctor, but I'm certainly no fool either. The likelihood of being struck by lightning is also very remote, but that doesn't mean I'm the least bit comfortable standing in the middle of a fairway in the midst of a thunder and lightning storm holding my favourite long iron high in the air.

TalRussell 3 years, 2 months ago

How to get the most out jabin' as many of the PopoulacesCommoners' - so as make better use of all vaccines on hand - against what to do with those free choice, anti-vaccine crazies, rebelling against the vaccines - is two totally separate conversations be had. Whilst they're screaming vaccine resistance - give their jabs to the vaccines willing.

John 3 years, 2 months ago

My Opinion: these vaccines have to potential to create SUPER SPREADERS. Think about NONE of the vaccines prevent or cure the virus. They all SUPPRESS the symptoms. So people who have the virus can move around freely and interact with others. They can pass the virus on to others. And since their symptoms will be mild and non life threatening they are, de facto, super spreaders and possibly pose more of a threat than persons who contract the virus naturally.

tribanon 3 years, 2 months ago

The prescription label on your pill box says 1 capsule every 6 hours every day of the week - not 1 capsule a week! Get with the programme!!

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