Biomarker Advisor, Dr. Dean Garrett. (GP)

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective in preventing and reducing the severity of the virus.

Biomarker Advisor, Dr. Dean Garrett, who is a Barbadian living in the United States of America, expressed this view as he participated in the Barbados Kidney Association and Kidney Caribbean’s online discussion on Sunday, entitled: Living With End-Stage Kidney Disease.

“COVID-19 vaccines are beneficial because they prevent COVID-19 related deaths; reduce morbidity; prevent infection; reduce transmission and protect the community. 

“Vaccinations will allow people in these communities to resume ‘normal’ life. So, for example, children will return to the classroom and continue their education and people will finally have the opportunity to again earn and provide for their families, as they did before this global pandemic,” he said.     

Dr. Garrett is a recognised expert in biomarker research and testing.  A biomarker is an indicator used to measure the presence or progress of a disease, or the effects of treatment.  

He worked for 16 years with the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health, as a Lab & Biomarker Advisor to the Demographic and Health Surveys Program, which is a USAID international health initiative. He is currently setting up Bio-Metrics, which is a consulting company.

The Biomarker Advisor said there were no reports that COVID-19 vaccines posed a greater risk to people with kidney disease.

“However, preliminary results have indicated that persons with chronic kidney disease who contract COVID have severe outcomes Consequently, clinicians and researchers recommend that people with kidney diseases, as well as other chronic ailments, take the vaccine to protect themselves from COVID,” he noted.

Dr. Garrett told the online audience that after the rigorous clinical trials, which were designed to collect information on safety, efficacy and adverse effects, some side effects were reported by the patients.  

He listed them as soreness at the injection site; stiffness of the arm in which the vaccine was given; itching at or away from the injection site; redness radiating from the injection site; fatigue; chills/fever and headache.

He said these post-vaccine side effects were typical for most people and indicated that the vaccine was working as intended.

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