The reported problems with the Astra Zeneca vaccine are very few in number and are ‘likely coincidential’, the President of the Medical Association of Malta Martin Balzan told The Malta Independent.
Balzan was contacted by this newsroom as certain countries around Europe suspend the use of the vaccine amidst fears that it may be linked to cases of thrombosis.
However, Balzan said that these cases are most probably coincidental in nature.
“The best thing we can do is to wait for the report of the European Medicines Authority in order for all the information to be available; but the likelihood is that the cases are coincidental”, Balzan said while playing down there being any proof of a correlation between the vaccine and the reported thrombosis cases.
Balzan explained that from around 5 million Astra Zeneca vaccine doses given, 20 cases were reported – meaning that only one person in every 250,000 were allegedly affected.
“When this is taken in comparison to 500,000 residents living in Malta, only two people would allegedly be affected […] considering that in Malta we see three to four thrombosis cases every single day, the number is insignificant”
This also has to be taken into consideration when seeing countries like the UK who have not reported any problems with the Astra Zeneca vaccine.
Balzan was then asked whether Malta should follow in the footsteps of big EU countries such as Italy, Germany and France in temporarily stopping the administration of the Astra Zeneca vaccine.
Balzan said that this should up to the discretion of the health ministry and that he has no opinion on the matter.
However, he noted that when looking at the facts, “So far in Malta we had no reports of such side effects.”
“The decisions of other countries are all precautionary and not because of any problems with the vaccine. The facts also tell us that there is a high probability that these cases are coincidental since the numbers are minimal and they would be much much higher if there actually was a problem with the vaccine”, Balzan said.