Technical director of Epidemiology at the Ministry of Health Dr Avery Hinds said global research suggests the benefits of taking a covid19 vaccine far outweigh the drawbacks.
Hinds was speaking at the Ministry of Health’s virtual press conference on Wednesday.
Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh has said TT will receive 100,800 AstraZeneca vaccines by the end of March.
Hinds said studies are showing the long-term benefits of having the immune system primed to respond in a better way to the virus. “Across the board, approved vaccines are showing massive reductions of people getting severely ill, even if they get infected.”
He said research from countries that have already rolled out its vaccinations are seeing decreases in deaths, showing the vaccine is working.
He said the ministry has not been getting much feedback from the public that they are unwilling to take the vaccine. He said, in casual conversation, there is a level of confidence in the vaccine because people have realized that the virus is more likely to have adverse effects than the vaccine.
“People are curious about the side effects, but are also noting those feelings go away in a day or two. You can take medication for the side effects to reduce those symptoms if they are problematic.”
He said among the 1,113 frontline workers who have taken the vaccine thus far, there have been mild side effects.
“Those side effects are just your body’s response to being vaccinated and generating an immune response.”
He said recipients will experience pain and swelling at the injection site, indicating an injury from the needle "stick." The redness, tenderness, fever, and fatigue experienced, he said, means the immune system is doing its job, and these reactions are expected and short-lived.