(Trinidad Guardian ) ..Of the more than 700,000 citizens and residents who were vaccinated for COVID-19, only 50 reported experiencing adverse side effects.
And none of those who reported such side effects subsequently died as a result of being vaccinated.
These statistics were provided by the Ministry of Health in response to a lawsuit filed by social activist Umar Abdullah, of the First Wave Movement.
Last month, High Court Judge Frank Seepersad granted Abdullah leave to pursue a lawsuit against the ministry over its failure to provide the statistics in response to a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) submitted in August, last year.
When the case came up for hearing before Justice Seepersad yesterday morning, Abdullah’s lawyer Keron Ramkhalwan indicated that most of the requested information was supplied by the ministry after his client was given permission for the lawsuit, last month.
Referring to the information provided to his client, Ramkhalwan noted that the ministry was unable to reveal the number of people who recovered from the adverse effects as it claimed that such information was not in its possession.
He also pointed out that the ministry did not disclose the reports on the adverse side effects that were sent to vaccine manufacturers.
“The minister said publicly the reports were being sent on a weekly basis, however the Ministry of Health has indicated that it is not in possession of any of the reports,” Ramkhalwan said.
He noted that it provided information on the specific side effects experienced by those who submitted reports to the ministry through its online Events Supposedly Attributable to Vaccines and Immunisations (ESAVI) database.
The ministry noted that the information was sent to the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) and by extension the World Health Organization (WHO).
The spreadsheet on the individual reports, which were redacted to exclude the patients’ names and obtained by Guardian Media, showed that most of those affected reported experiencing issues with their menstrual cycle after being vaccinated.
“Period was delayed, more painful cramps, extreme fatigue and heavier bleeding. All of these factors are unusual as I am on birth control,” one female patient reported.
“After my first dose my period cycle has been out of sync which is unusual for me. For months of May and June I got my period twice. The problem seemed to stop since I am getting my period once a month again. I usually have my period for four days out of the month and now it can be up to five with light spotting,” another patient said.
Some claimed that they suffered hypertension, seizures, blood clots and heart conditions, while others reported suffering headaches, body pain, fever and other relatively minor conditions which are recognised standard side effects identified by vaccine manufacturers.
Although Justice Seepersad was forced to dispose of the case as most of the information sought was provided, he still sought to give his views on the public interest in it (the information) being disclosed.
“This is important information that should be shared with the population at large so people can make an informed decision in relation to these vaccines,” Justice Seepersad said.
The judge also ordered the ministry to pay Abdullah $17,500 in legal costs for pursuing the case.
According to the last fortnightly COVID-19 update published by the ministry on its website on May 2, last year, for the week preceding it, 718,969 people (51.4 per cent of the population) were fully vaccinated with 174,836 being administered boosters.
The vaccinations used by the ministry were Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Johnson and Johnson, and Sinopharm.
In a press release issued on January 18, the ministry indicated that there had been an increase in hospitalisations and deaths related to COVID-19 with six people succumbing to the virus between December 23, last year, and the date of the release.
“The ministry notes the global increase in Covid-19 cases within recent months. A similar trend was noted in the Caribbean region and locally, as a result of increased movement of persons, which usually occurs during the Christmas and the Carnival seasons, among other factors,” it said.