Coroner to Investigate Sudden Deaths Amid COVID-19 Vaccine Concerns

Glendon Hospital (Montserrat Reporter Photo)

Ministry of Health officials have confirmed that a coroner is to arrive on island today to conduct autopsies on two sudden death cases, which occurred in recent days.

In a late Tuesday press release, the ministry said the cases were under investigation, as is standard procedure, in conjunction with the police and other stakeholders. No further details on the gender and age of the deceased were released.

The government’s COVID-19 vaccination programme began February 8, 2021 the release stated. “Since that time, 1321 persons have received their first dose of the vaccine and 976 persons have received their second dose. Based on hospital records, there has been a total of 14 deaths on Montserrat from February 2021 to present. The records also indicate that of the deceased, two persons received their first dose of the Oxford- AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. There was no indication based on investigations carried out by the ministry that these persons died as a result of any complications related to the COVID-19 vaccine which they received.”

It is unknown if the two sudden death cases are also the ones who received a dose of the vaccine.

“The Ministry of Health & Social Services asks that the public remains calm while we await the results of the post- mortems. The ministry is also asking that the general public remains mindful of the feelings of the relatives of the deceased during this very difficult time,” the statement read.

The coroner’s report will be made available to the relevant authorities later this week, officials told Discover Montserrat.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sharra Greenaway-Duberry reaffirms that, “The risk of adverse reactions to the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine are very minimal. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) has calculated the risk of the extremely rare condition of blood clotting to be 10 in a million persons. Therefore, the benefits of  have been proven to far outweigh the risks. The Ministry is continuing its vaccination programme and residents are being encouraged to continue to register.”

In addition to vaccination, Ministry of Health officials are advising residents to continue practicing good hygiene, social distancing and the wearing of face coverings in shared public spaces where social distancing may not be possible.

The Ministry is encouraging persons who may have any queries about the COVID-19 vaccine or wish to receive any additional information, to use this dedicated address covid19vaccine@gov.ms.