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Leribe deaths not related to COVID-19 – Minister

Boxes containing the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine sit next to vials in the pharmacy of National Jewish Hospital for distribution early Saturday, March 6, 2021, in east Denver. Volunteers worked with nurses and physicians from National Jewish to administer 2,500 vaccinations of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that requires a single shot instead of two like the other vaccines. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

J&J VACCINE CLEARED OUT BY THE HEALTH MINISTER

Maseru, 01. Sept — Following five deaths in Leribe that were associated with Johnson and Johnson (J&J) vaccine last month, the Minister of Health Mr. Semano Sekatle presented the preliminary report that cause of death was nothing related to the vaccine, this he said during the press briefing at Ministerial Auditorium on Wednesday.

The Minister highlighted that thorough investigation were made regarding these deaths and two teams of health experts dealt with the matter and according to the results, three of the deaths were caused by Covid-19, heart attack, high blood, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, while the forth one was mainly caused by anaesthesia shock which is rare and happens once in a million times, while the fifth one is due to heart attack, high blood and not adhering to anti-retro virus (ART) medication.

He narrated that during the investigations, the experts visited deceased homes and families to find out about their health history and lifestyle, also visited the places where the vaccination took place, and people who vaccinated with them at the same place that day and it came out that there were good with no signs of J&J side effects.

He also mentioned that storage where the vaccine was kept was also evaluated, even the nurses who were vaccinating where questioned and interviewed to make sure that they qualified to perform the task.

”furthermore, the blood samples were drawn, and some body fluids that included the cut of the body parts and were transported to Republic of South Africa (RSA) for further investigations and the results came out negative, this means Lesotho will continue with vaccination”, explained the Minister.

The World Health Organisation representative (WHO) Dr. Richard Banda congratulated Lesotho for handling the case professionally and for coming out openly with investigations, he said there are encouraging indicators that the pandemic is on decline in Lesotho over the past two weeks. He however said the outbreak has stabilised at unacceptably high level with more than 500 cases and 15 deaths in the past week.

He said as long as the virus is circulating everywhere, it still arouse the threat and people must continue to take care of themselves, he concluded that Lesotho is on track to surpass WHO’s target of vaccinating at 10% of the population by end of September.

Also sharing the same sentiments, the Africa/CDC representative Dr. Ndembi Nicaise said they are proud of the great public health leadership demonstrated by the Ministry of Health and partners in the causality assessment of the adverse following immunisation reported in the country, he said it is indeed an important step in enhancing surveillance of assessment not only for Lesotho but also the entire continent.

Lesotho is said to have vaccinated over 250 000 population, with over four billion of vaccinated population globally.

LENA

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