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JM | Apr 22, 2021

Just what caused Michael Sharpe’s death?

Al Edwards

Al Edwards / Our Today

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Michael Sharpe

On Tuesday of this week, the veteran Jamaican broadcaster and journalist Michael Sharpe died at the age of 65.

It is not unequivocally clear at this time what caused his death. Some say he suffered a reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine, others that he contracted COVID and passed away.

So what do we know? Michael Sharpe was a sprightly 65-year old man who looked far younger than his years. He was up and about and still working just weeks ago.

Jamaica’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Jacqueline Bisasor-Mc Kenzie has moved quickly to dispel rumours attributing Sharpe’s death to the  AstraZeneca vaccine.

She is reported to have said: “He became ill because of COVID; he did not become ill because of the vaccine.

“The vaccine does not have any virus in it, so it will not cause COVID, and the likelihood of any severe reaction to the vaccine is very small – a really low risk of getting any kind of severe complications.”

Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie, chief medical officer.

It now transpires that Sharpe had a heart condition and this could have played a factor in his demise. COVID does tend to have a more devastating effect on those in the older age cohort and, at 65, Sharpe would be in that range.

“As you get older, your lungs are not as elastic or as resilient as when you’re younger. Those kinds of things, coupled with any kind of health issue you might have, trend toward this loss of airway function and respiratory function.

“Age and your condition in life will really drive your susceptibility. You may be in your 40s, but if you have these chronic health conditions, you’re going to be more susceptible, just like you see with flu,” said Vineet Menachery, an immunologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch, who studies the effect of coronaviruses on aging immune systems.

Governments and health administrators the world over are on a campaign to get people to take the vaccine in an effort to combat the rampant coronavirus. The vaccine was developed in record time- less than a year – and the side effects are still yet to be fully determined despite trumpeted assurances.

Already AstraZeneca has been questioned and links made with blood clotting. Many European countries have placed a halt on inoculating its people with this vaccine.

More recently, Johnson & Johnson has come under scrutiny and a decision was taken by the CDC to suspend distribution of this American-made vaccine as a precautionary measure.


Dr. Bisasor-McKenzie has gone on record to say that one can still contract COVID within 14 days of taking the vaccine. In other words, Sharpe could have taken the vaccine and still have contracted COVID.

Did he contract the virulent Indian strain, or the one from the UK or Brazil? At this point we do not know. Perhaps the findings of an autopsy will give us a somewhat less ambiguous account on what led to the death of the much loved, affable and talented journalist who was a fantastic mentor to a younger generation entering the profession.

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