Fears over Covid vaccines has not hampered roll out, say Sunderland NHS chiefs
Fears over potential vaccine side effects have not dampened appetites for coronavirus jabs in Sunderland, according to health chiefs.
Concerns over rare blood clots have seen guidelines for the use of the Oxford AstraZeneca treatment revised in the UK, while some countries have stopped offering it to patients.
But despite an ‘initial wobble’ on Wearside, NHS bosses claim continued confidence has been reflected in strong uptake.
“There was some impact in the very first instance, after the first news reports broke, where [some coverage] was potentially a little bit confusing,” said Tracey Teasdale, of the Sunderland GP Alliance.
“Over about a 48 – 72-hour period there was probably some impact, but actually that has balanced itself out.
“It could be that we’ve seen some impact in second doses, whereby that caused some of the initial wobble around people perhaps not coming forward for their second dose when they were initially invited.
“But [they’re] now coming forward for that second dose, now that the news [has] started to balance that, in terms of how much risk there actually is.”
Teasdale was speaking at this week’s (Wednesday, April 14) meeting of Sunderland City Council’s (SCC) Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee, which was held by videolink and broadcast via YouTube.
According to health bosses, about 1 per cent of people in Wearside offered a vaccine so far have formally declined.
More than 20 million people across the world are believed to have been given a dose of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.
Of these, less than 100 have since been linked to rare blood clots, of whom about 20 have died as a result.
The UK has since changed its guidelines to offer under-30s an alternative vaccine, while other countries have paused its use or, as in the case of Denmark, dropped it completely.
David Chandler, chief finance officer at Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “My understanding is that among the cohorts we’re vaccinating at the moment, we’re not seeing significant change, in terms of people coming forward for first and second vaccinations.
“There are still some people who were against getting vaccinated, but you’re still able to get one if you want, if or when you change your mind – and a lot of people do.”