Trinidad health officials say no link between deaths and AstraZeneca vaccineMonday, April 19, 2021
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — Health authorities in Trinidad and Tobago have denied a link between the deaths of two people, including Energy and Energy Industries Minister Franklin Khan, with the AstraZeneca vaccine being administered here to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Acting principal medical officer in charge of institutions in the Ministry of Health, Dr Maryam Abdool-Richards, told a news conference Monday that there were no links as yet to the deaths of the two men, including a retired 60-year-old councillor.
Both men died within days after taking the vaccine, with Khan's body being found at his home on Saturday. Both men also had heart related problems.
“And there is no evidence to suggest that these two deaths that were recently reported are related to the AstraZeneca vaccine,” Dr Abdool-Richards said. An autopsy is to be conducted on Khan later this week.
“I would like to reiterate that as per the WHO (World Health Organisation) recommendations, which looked at the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines over a large number of persons, the AstraZeneca vaccines remains a safe and effective form of protection in line with the existing public health measures to prevent COVID-19,” she added.
She told reporters that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine “greatly and significantly outweigh the risks that exists”.
Figures released by the Ministry of Health Monday showed that the country has recorded three deaths and 164 new cases of the virus over the past 24 hours.
The medical official said there has also been an increase in hospitalisations due to the pandemic.
“We have noted a significant increase in hospital occupancy levels. So for example, at week 11, we had an overall hospital occupancy of two per cent, at the end of week 15, we have seen significant increase in hospital occupancy levels of up to 24 per cent.
“As far as ICU (Intensive Care Unit) and HTU levels are concerned, ICU levels have increased from approximately two to five per cent to 25 per cent over a three week period. HTU levels have also increased up to 10 per cent, where we were previously between zero and four per cent between weeks one and 11,” she added
Dr Abdool Richards said the daily number of cases is also on the increase, saying “additionally and even more worrying is the trend in terms of the rolling occupancy of the average number of COVID cases per day over a seven week period”.
“This trend resulted in cases that are approximately three for weeks one to 11 then at the end of week 14, we saw an increase from three to 32 and, as of today, at the end of week 15, we see that number basically double to 77 cases per day over the last week,” she told reporters.
Meanwhile, St Lucia over the last weekend reported two new COVID-19 related deaths and three new cases of the virus.
The Ministry of Health said the two deaths bring the total of those who have succumbed to 67. They include a 74-year-old male from the city of Vieux-Fort, south of the capital and a 94-year-old female from the Soufriere, along the west coast also with underlying medical illnesses.
According to the Ministry of Health, the newly diagnosed cases were seen at various community respiratory clinics where they were assessed and tested for COVID-19 and that the total number of active cases in country as of Saturday was 91.
But one of the active cases is requiring critical care at the Respiratory Hospital.
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