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From allergy to death: what are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine, and which ones are the norm


Side effect after coronavirus vaccination. Photo: Pixabay

Side effect after coronavirus vaccination. Photo: Pixabay

Coronavirus vaccines in the world are no longer only at the active development stage, but also at the stage of application. However, many people are worried about their safety and the news of deaths following vaccinations.

While the situation around the coronavirus is exaggerating, The Page has been figuring out what to really expect from the vaccine and what side effects are normal.

Severe case: what can happen after coronavirus vaccination

At least 23 people who were vaccinated against the coronavirus with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine have died in Norway. The reasons for 13 of them have already been considered by experts, the Norwegian Medicines Agency (Legemiddelverk) reported.

According to the agency's Chief Physician, Sigurd Hortemo, the usual symptoms caused by the vaccine, such as nausea and fever, could lead to the death of certain elderly people with poor health. Indeed, vaccinations in Norway began at the end of December 2020. Residents of a nursing home in Oslo were the first to be vaccinated in the country.

In total, over 21,000 people received the first dose of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in Norway. In early 2021, three deaths were reported in people who received the vaccine, but according to authorities, the deaths are not related to the vaccine.

At the same time, 56-year-old obstetrician-gynecologist Gregory Michael died in the US, Florida, a few weeks after being vaccinated with a Pfizer medication. According to the New York Post, the cause of death was a hemorrhagic stroke.

The wife of the deceased wrote on Facebook that a few days after the coronavirus vaccination, Gregory Michael noticed red spots on his body that indicated the presence of internal bleeding. After he went to the hospital, where an acute shortage of platelets was found, Michael died two days before the operation.

Pfizer reported the case is being actively investigated and clarified that there is currently no evidence that the vaccine can cause a decrease in the number of platelets in the blood.

But there can really be side effects. For example, in Poland, 37 undesirable side effects were recorded after vaccinations. Of these, 32 are mild side effects, 4 are moderate, and 1 severe, said the Minister of Health of Poland Adam Nedzielski.

Now in the world, the following side effects are observed after the introduction of the coronavirus vaccine: tachycardia, allergic reaction, swelling at the injection site, and weakness.

No, this is normal: why are adverse reactions not out of the ordinary?

So many people will feel tangible side effects from the coronavirus vaccine, according to The Washington Post. But this only means that the human body gives an immune response. Indeed, a side effect can last from several hours to several days, but this does not mean that each case will become fatal. By the way, there are side reactions in other vaccines, for example, against the flu.

"Most vaccines have minor side effects. In fact, these are the body's immune and inflammatory responses to the vaccine," says Yvonne Maldonado, an epidemiologist at Stanford University.

In some cases, vaccines do cause severe side effects, but in general they go through many stages of research and testing making them safe and usable.

For example, the BioNTech and Pfizer vaccine has side effects: for instance, in some patients it caused a strong allergic reaction, in two it caused anaphylactic shock. In such cases, the authorities warn of possible adverse reactions, especially for those people who have allergies.

Most common side effects from AstraZeneca vaccine are headache, swelling at the injection site. There was mostly a minor allergic reaction from the Moderna vaccine.

In addition to the matter of adverse reactions from vaccines, there is the matter of their effectiveness. For example, the Brazilian Instituto Butantan reported that the effectiveness of the coronavirus vaccine from the Chinese company SinoVac is 50.38%. Earlier it was said in Brazil that the effectiveness of this vaccine is 78%. By the way, according to the FDA recommendation, the effectiveness of 50% is enough to confirm the vaccine in medical regulators.

What will happen to vaccination in Ukraine

On December 30, 2020, Ukraine signed a contract with the Chinese company Sinovac for the supply of 1.9 million vaccine doses at a price of 504 UAH per dose. Deliveries are expected in February-March 2021. The first batch will be delivered to Ukraine within 30 days after the vaccine is officially registered in China, or in one of the competent authorities of a number of other countries. It is planned to obtain a using permit in January 2021. The COVID-19 vaccine for Ukraine will be purchased by the British purchasing agency Crown Agents.

According to Stepanov, mass vaccination will begin in February 2021.

"We have taken serious steps with the countries that manufacture these vaccines. I think that in February that will come in two weeks we will really start mass vaccination in our country. And everything that you say about passports, about all other documents that citizens of the European Union will receive, will also be received by citizens of Ukraine."

Maksym Stepanov

Maksym Stepanov

Minister of Healthcare

Prior to that, on December 22, 2020, the Ministry of Health operational headquarter for vaccine-preventable infections approved a plan for immunizing the population against COVID-19. It expects to cover at least 50% of the population of Ukraine (20 million people) with coronavirus vaccination during 2021-2022.

4 stages of vaccination are planned:

  • January-April 2021: people at high risk of infection and development of COVID-19 and those who perform critical functions in fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic will receive the vaccine;
  • April-June 2021: people at extremely high risk of infection and development of COVID-19 and those who provide medical services;
  • June-September 2021: people at high risk of infection and development of COVID-19 and those who carry out functions to maintain the safety and life of the state;
  • September 2021: March 2022—people with an increased risk of infection and development of COVID-19 and those who perform functions of maintaining the safety and life of the state.

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