ECONOMYNEXT – Six cases of blood clotting, three of which ended in death, after being injected with the AstraZeneca vaccine have been reported in Sri Lanka so far, though no direct link has been established yet, Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said.
The minister told parliament today that no local or international body has found evidence for a link between blood clots and the jab so far. The World Health Organisation (WHO)’s Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety nor European regulatory bodies have recommended a halt to the rollout, she said.
“Such cases are around 4 to 6 per million,” she added.
Sri Lanka has appointed a committee of experts representing a number of medical disciplines to investigate any cases of clotting reported in the country as well as a special unit at the Colombo national hospital to handle them, the minister said.
The expert is headed by Director General of Health Servicess Dr Asela Gunawardena and includes doctors Sudath Samaraweera, Neelika Malavige, Ananda Wijewickrama, Vishaka Malalasekara, Sunethra Gunawardena, Kanthi Nanayakkara, Rajeev de Silva, Ajith Thennakoon, Samitha Ginige, Lallendra, Upali Dissanayaka and Deepa Gamage.
“The government has taken precautions,” she said.
A 24-hour hotline has also been introduced, she added, on +94113415985.
“We will be informing vaccine receivers to immediately get medical attention in the event of a headache, sore throat, breathing difficulties or leg pain upon receiving the jab,” said Wanniarachchi.
“We have not discontinued the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine. In the first week of May, we’ll start administering the second dose for those who have already received the first jab,” she added.
Any vaccine, not just Covishield, can have side effects, the minister went on to say.
“Spreading rumours about the vaccine can impact the immunisation programme negatively. The general public has faith in the country’s health sector,” she said. (Colombo/Apr21/2021)