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Benefits of J&J, AstraZeneca shots outweigh risks — WHO

In the wake of the reports of severe incidents of deadly blood clots and other adverse events trailing the AstraZeneca and  Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines, the World Health Organisation, WHO says it backs the two jabs, noting that the benefits of receiving either of the vaccines, greatly outweigh the risks.

Africa has not recorded any case of blood coagulation disorders reported in Europe and the US after administering more than 13.6 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines, including 12 million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses.

Most of the adverse events following vaccination have involved only mild to moderate side effects.

According to the  WHO Regional Director for Africa. Dr Matshidiso Moeti, with limited supplies and delays in vaccine shipment, it is important for Africa to develop its own vaccine manufacturing capacity.

“COVID-19 vaccine access remains starkly unequal across the world. In high-income countries, one in four people on average has received a COVID-19 vaccine compared with just one in 500 in lower-income countries, which includes many African countries,” said Moeti.

“The continent is home to 16 percent of the world’s population but produces 0.1 percent of vaccines. African countries that largely rely on importation are particularly vulnerable to delays in accessing essential health products during the pandemic.

“To date, more than 200 million people have received AstraZeneca vaccines around the world, and cases of blood clots and low platelets are extremely low – fewer than 200 cases have been reported.

“COVID-19 on the other hand has claimed nearly three million lives worldwide. While the vaccine reviews continue.”

The WHO said it considers – based on available data – that the benefits of receiving AstraZeneca or the Johnson & Johnson vaccine greatly outweigh the risks.

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