The AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine has arrived on Caribbean shores. “This marks the start of a new phase in the pandemic in which we start the ‘fight back’ against COVID-19” says Professor Clive Landis, Immunologist and Chairman of The University of the West Indies COVID-19 Task Force.
Earlier this month Barbados received a donation of 100,000 doses of vaccine from India and has subsequently shared the doses with Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia among some other Eastern Caribbean territories.
Professor Landis noted that the AstraZeneca vaccine has shown 76% efficacy after one shot and 82% efficacy after the booster shot in the latest phase 3 clinical trial involving more than 35,000 people in the UK, South Africa and Brazil. He also stated that the European Medicines Agency has given full regulatory approval for all persons over 18 and the World Health Organisation has likewise endorsed the AstraZeneca vaccine for all adults over 18 and against all strains of the virus.
Last week, WHO vaccine experts announced that the AstraZeneca vaccine could be used for people over the age of 65, and also in settings where variants of the virus are circulating. It has already been administered to over 10 million people in the UK without serious side effects, and has an excellent safety profile.
Addressing concerns about the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines, Professor Landis affirmed, “Even for those persons who may still contract the virus, vaccination prevents all severe disease and hospitalizations.
“This is an exciting time in the pandemic in which we have the opportunity to save lives and curb the spread. I really want to urge all persons who are eligible according to their risk category by age or profession to take the vaccine.” he added.