Since the temporary pause on the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on the 6th of April 2021, the Ministry of Health has reviewed reports from other countries of very rare cases of blood clots with low platelets following vaccination with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. The Minister of Health stated the matter during a Media Conference on the Latest COVID-19 situation this afternoon. Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Doctor Haji Awang Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar added during a recent meeting, the COVID-19 Vaccine Technical Committee reviewed updated information from European Medicines Agency, E-M-A and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, MHRA, United Kingdom as well as information from other countries on the COVID-19 Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Meanwhile, a Scientific Exchange Meeting was held on 12th of April 2021 among experts across the Asia-Pacific Region including Brunei Darussalam and representatives from AstraZeneca, where the information from this meeting assisted with the review.
Yang Berhormat said that the COVID-19 Vaccine Technical Committee has noted that in extensive vaccination campaigns, potential adverse events can occur following immunization. However, this does not necessarily mean that the events are linked to the vaccination itself, but they must be investigated to ensure that any safety concerns are addressed immediately. The Minister of Health added that vaccines, like all medicines, can have side effects. The administration of vaccines is based on a risk versus benefit analysis.
Based on the latest information on the occurrence of cases of blood clots with low platelet count, namely Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia following immunization of the COVID-19 vaccine, the administration of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine may be related to the event. Nevertheless, such incidents are extremely rare where the number of occurrences is low with a risk rate of about 4 cases for every one million doses given. In Brunei Darussalam, based on the 2 thousand 323 individuals who have received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, no events of this nature have been identified.
Information from countries which have reported this event suggest that while the overall risk is extremely low, the risk appears to be higher in younger age groups. At the present time, based on an analysis of baseline rates among the population of the United Kingdom and Europe, there does not appear to be an increased risk in older age groups.
Source: Radio Television Brunei