AstraZeneca jab benefits outweigh risks of side effects, says Dr Waqainabete

Fiji's Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete while delivering Fiji's statement at the World Health Assembly 74th virtual session. Picture: SUPPLIED/FIJI GOVT

THE benefits that AstraZeneca outweighs whatever side effects it has, says Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete.

He made the comments while responding to a question that was raised to him by this newspaper on why Moderna has been offered for individuals who were above the age of 60 – and not to the younger population as reports suggested AstraZeneca tendered to negatively affect the younger population.

Dr Waqainabete said this was not necessarily the case.

“If you look at the community transmission in the Lami and Nausori corridor, especially the benefits that AstraZeneca far outweighs whatever small side effects it has,” he said.

“Now the only benefit that Moderna gives during this moment in time is the turnaround time, 28 days and so if you work to vaccinate a vulnerable person over the age of 60 with AstraZeneca ,you have to wait eight weeks to vaccinate them until they are fully protected and so the benefit of Moderna is that we can vaccinate today and wait for just 28 days to get them fully vaccinated.” 

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