Tue | Jan 18, 2022

AstraZeneca vaccine will keep you out of the morgue – Graham

Published:Tuesday | March 16, 2021 | 12:05 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU

Days after the country rolled out its vaccination campaign in search of herd immunity, Dr Marcia Graham, the medical officer of health (MOH) at the Westmoreland Public Health Services, says the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has several benefits, including keeping people out of hospitals and the morgues.

Speaking at Thursday’s monthly meeting of the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation’s (WMC), Graham said that the vaccine, which was developed in India, is not without side effects, which is dependent on the immune system of different individuals.

“It is your body responding to the vaccine and it is mounting a response that the next time you see COVID- 19, you are ready to fight it in a quicker way, in a stronger way, in a more sustained way so you can stay out of the hospital, stay off oxygen, ventilator and stay out of the morgue,” said Graham, in embracing the vaccine.

“That is one of the big benefits of the vaccine and we are asking you to embrace it,” added Graham, while noting that another big benefit of the vaccine is the impact on the hospitalisation of COVID-19-infected persons.

Graham said the greatest impact of the vaccine is to decrease the number of persons with severe and moderate diseases in the parish and the country in general.

According to the MOH, when the vaccination programme is ended, the public health sector would begin to experience a level of relief, as there will be less reliance on the need for COVID-19 hospital care, supplemental oxygen, and ventilators, which will also see a significant reduction in the number of persons dying from the virus.

UK STRAIN

Hours ahead of Jamaica getting 50,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton revealed that seven cases of the UK strain of the COVID-19 virus have been detected in several parishes, among persons with no travel history. However, Graham, in seeking to calm nerves, said Jamaicans can overcome any strain of the virus with compliance with the measures imposed to stem the spread.

“The good news is it does not matter if it’s the original Wuhan strain, it doesn’t matter if it’s the UK, South African, or the Brazilian strain, the basic protective protocols will help to decrease the spread of COVID-19, regardless of the strain,” said Graham. “Don’t be caught up with the different strains... you don’t need to know which strain of COVID19, you just need to protect yourself against COVID-19.”