A fact check: AstraZeneca vaccine still safe, really?

11 June 2021 | Opinion

WERNER GERTZ

On 11 March, during an official visit to President Geingob, the World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Namibia, Dr Charles Sagoe-Moses, made the following statement: “The Covid-19 vaccine produced by AstraZeneca is still scientifically safe to use in Namibia... since many countries are already using it.”

First of all: what does "safe" mean?

Does it mean: no adverse effects, at least no serious ones? No deaths "in connection with the vaccination"?

And what does "still” safe mean? At present, but no longer in the future?

Yes, many countries use AstraZeneca's Vaxzevria vaccine, but many of them have discontinued or even stopped using it because they found out that it is not "safe". (Windhoek Observer 13 May: “AstraZeneca faces mounting bans”).

Here an (incomplete) list:

• Denmark and Norway: permanently stopped use of Vaxzevria (product name of Astra Zeneca vaccine).

• Germany and Netherlands: Usage only allowed for people older than 60 years because of menstruation problems with women.

• Brazil: forbidden for pregnant women due to death case.

The UK Government Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory reports on 3 June: 695 214 adverse reactions with 831 deaths (only for UK)

And what does AstraZeneca itself say?

“Red Hand” Alert 13 April 2021: A causal relationship between the vaccination with Vaxzevria and the occurrence of thrombosis in combination with thrombocytopenia is considered plausible.

And in the Vaxzevria Product Information (which only has a preliminary “emergency” approval in Europe) they say:

• The effects on fertility are unknown, even the animal studies in this area have not yet been completed.

• The duration of protection afforded by the vaccine is still unknown.

• Currently available clinical trial data do not allow an estimate of vaccine efficacy in subjects over 55 years of age.

Are these the “advantages” the European Medicines Agency is promising?

The health minister of a German state says that the vaccine is only 70% effective. So about one third of the vaccinations are ineffective against SARS-CoV-2, but can produce adverse effects.

Is that the safety that Dr Sagoe-Moses of WHO Namibia is promising?

And is the Namibian minister of health exposing his countrymen to risks that other countries protect their citizens from?

Now – where AstraZeneca is losing its markets in some countries – does it urgently need new markets?

And does Africa, and Namibia in particular, belong to these? (The population in Africa have often been guinea pigs for vaccines, sometimes with severe lifelong side effects and fatal consequences).

This time again?

* Werner Gertz is an independent journalist and researcher in Windhoek.

The editor of this newspaper has been provided with links for all publications cited above. The content of the links is the sole responsibility of their authors.

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