Pulled AstraZeneca Vaccine not the one administered to Belizeans says Health Minister

Pulled AstraZeneca Vaccine not the one administered to Belizeans says Health Minister

Over the weekend, residents grew concerned after the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines were pulled from medical facilities in Europe. The pharmaceutical giant requested the vaccine’s authorization be pulled due to what it says were commercial reasons. In a statement, the company says newer vaccines for virus variants have led to decreased demand. However, the move comes after the company admitted in court that the vaccine, in rare cases, resulted in persons developing blood clot issues. In the United Kingdom, over fifty claims have been filed against the company by individuals and families allegedly affected by the vaccine. While the company says the vaccine is safe and notes that its decision in Europe is not linked to the ongoing court case, many Belizeans who took the jab have expressed concerns. However, according to Minister of Health and Wellness Kevin Bernard, Belizeans have nothing to worry about and explained that the vaccines Belize received were from a separate batch from the jabs sent to Europe. 

Kevin Bernard, Minister of Health and Wellness: “The AstraZeneca name is the company brand like if you call Pfizer, call Abbott, these are company names but the specific COVID-19 vaccine that is being recalled is the Vaxiviere, COVID-19 vaccine that was built for the European market. Belize in this case did not get that Vaxiviere version of the vaccine, we got from India and so we had the Oxford brand from AstraZeneca. However while the AstraZeneca vaccine – and when you hear it from the front you will think “Oh all AstraZeneca but it’s not necessarily that. It’s the type of vaccine that was produced in Europe. We, one, never did distribute that specific vaccine because we never did receive any of that specific brand , that Vaxiviria. We had the Oxford as I said that was the distributed in Belize. We haven’t had any issues really of persons complaining or going to the hospitals with major issues and if there was any it would have been minor. However even if it was the AstraZeneca model Oxford brand that we have in country there is no available. The ones that we would have had would have already been expired and we are no longer distributing those. There is also the issue of the lack of need for the vaccine, people are no longer seeking the vaccination. While we do have we have the Pfizer Vaccine which we continue to utilize if people need them but we don’t have the AstraZeneca in country, there is no more of it and those that were here we had already had to destroy them because they have already expired.”

Bernard reiterated that the specific vaccine batch never made its way to Belize.

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