25—JAN—2021 15:23 GMT
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his was written to reflect the latest vaccine update and status on 28th December 2020. Live updates on the vaccine can be monitored here with individual information of each vaccine.

Mass Media Responsible For Fear-Mongering of The COVID Vaccine: Truth or Empty Conspiracy?

Common side effects that your health care provider will probably advise you about prior to getting the vaccine are: pain and swelling at the site of injection, mild fever, cold, headaches and dizziness that should go away after 1-2 days.

You may have also read about participants experiencing unpleasant side effects. These have been debunked by the experts. No significant correlation between the vaccine and these adverse effects were to be found after thorough investigation. 

Risks explained below:

1) Death (3)

6 out of 43,448 people who participated in the Pfizer vaccine trial (phase 3) have died. 2 out of 6 received the vaccine whilst the remaining 4 were from the placebo group (people who were NOT given the vaccine, but instead a mixture of salt and water).

This was investigated as it is important to ascertain if the deaths were directly related to the vaccine uptake. It was found that the vaccine was not the cause of death, instead metabolic disorders leading to cardiac and cerebral deaths were the main causes.

  1. One of the vaccine recipients had a cardiac arrest 62 days after a second dose of the two-dose vaccination and died 3 days later.

  2. Another participant died from arteriosclerosis (disease of the blood vessels) 3 days after the first dose of the vaccination.

  3. One of the placebo recipients died from myocardial infarction

  4. Another form stroke and two others from unknown causes.

It is important to note that these deaths can be explained statistically and represent events that occur frequently within our communities especially in the age group over 55 years old. 

2) Bell's palsy

Bell’s Palsy is a form of facial paralysis. It may elicit a lot of distress to the patient as the face may appear deformed or droopy. This condition affects about 23 per 100,000 people per year (4). 

Therefore, when a handful of patients in Phase 3 clinical trials from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna developed this condition, the FDA did not rule that the vaccine was a direct cause of Bell’s Palsy as the incidence was not above the expected rate.

  • 4 patients who received the Pfizer vaccine developed the condition whilst none in the placebo group did.

  • 3 patients from the vaccinated group and 1 in the placebo arm were found to have Bell’s Palsy within the Moderna trial. 

lazaros-mergoupis-vAuyvLQyM5M-unsplash.j
A bell tower. Image shot by Lazaros Mergoupis.
Do us a favour and Google 'Bell's palsy'. We still don't have our own photo archive yet.

3) Allergic reactions (3)

2 people given the vaccine developed allergic reactions. It should be noted that allergic reactions are extremely rare and not commonly experienced. 

Whilst allergic reactions can sometimes be dangerous, eg anaphylactic reactions - (known to cause death in certain cases) your healthcare provider would have gone through your allergy history to determine your suitability in receiving the vaccine. 

Aside from that, you would also be monitored for suggestive symptoms after receiving the vaccine. These include: difficulty breathing, hives, watery eyes, or angioedema (swelling of the face, tongue, abdomen or limbs). Should this happen, do seek immediate medical attention from the nearest hospital/ clinic. 

 

To recap, any medical intervention that we undertake or consume comes with its own set of risks which may be due to the nature of the intervention or our bodies’ susceptibility. The best we can do is to weigh the risks against the benefits. 

In this case, the COVID vaccines in the market are more than 90% efficacious and hopefully will enable us to “return” to the better parts of the “pre-covid era” without endangering ourselves or the people around us. Now that you are equipped with the relevant knowledge about the COVID vaccine, we hope that it empowers you to make educated and informed decisions regarding your health and well-being. It is always best to do your due diligence to fact-check and keep yourselves updated by referring to reliable sources such as the CDC or WHO website. 

References

  1. How do vaccines work?. (2020). Retrieved 27 December 2020, from https://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/how-do-vaccines-work

  2. COVID-19 and Your Health. (2020). Retrieved 28 December 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/mRNA.html

  3. Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine VRBPAC Briefing Document. (2021). Retrieved 28 December 2020, from https://www.fda.gov/media/144245/download#page=41

  4. Marson, A. (2000). Bell's palsy. Western Journal Of Medicine, 173(4), 266-268. doi: 10.1136/ewjm.173.4.266