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Now with COVID-19 vaccines being rolled out in many parts of the world and the imminent start of mass vaccinations in India, many people are worried about the possible side effects of the shots. This fear has been made worse by reports of minor and major side effects experienced by participants in phase 3 trials of many vaccine candidates. The shots have been linked to adverse events like pain and fever as well as more serious ones like neurological complications and anaphylaxis. While experts say that all precautions are being taken and people given the vaccine will be monitored and followed for side-effect, it has led to a sense of uncertainty in the minds of many.
At least 29 people vaccinated with mRNA-based COVID-19 shots in the US developed anaphylaxis - a "life-threatening" allergic reaction that comes on within minutes of receiving the intramuscular injection. A report on the CDC website lists 21 such cases but CDC officials clarified in a call with reporters that the number has been updated to 29 as on Wednesday.
The median interval from vaccine receipt to symptom onset was 13 minutes, according to an update by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, America's premier public health agency that is returning to its pre-eminent role in health communications after months of political interference from the Donald Trump White House.
The CDC is recommending that vaccine locations must screen for contraindications before the shots are given and must have supplies of epinephrine ready to treat people experiencing anaphylaxis symptoms. Around 80 per cent of patients who reported anaphylaxis symptoms had a documented history of allergies or allergic reactions, including to drugs or medical products, foods, and insect stings.
By December 23, 2020, the CDC reported there were a total of 4,393 (0.2 per cent) "adverse events" among 18,93,360 first doses of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19. Vaccinations in America began on December 14. So far, two vaccines have received emergency approval from the US Food and Drug Administration -- Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
Many experts say that some COVID-19 vaccines may carry some unpleasant side effects. Though most of these are minor, some can be life-threatening like anaphylaxis. A few participants of vaccine trials have also reported neurological symptoms after receiving the shots. But, usual symptoms are sore arms, muscle aches, chills, headache and fever. According to some experts, almost 1 in 10 recipients may be vulnerable to these side effects. This is true even for a vaccine that proved to be 90 per cent effective in clinical trials.
(With inputs from IANS)
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