COVID-19 Vaccines Face Side-Effect ChallengesBy Sofía Hanna | Wed, 04/14/2021 - 18:11
More and more COVID-19 vaccines are being approved and distributed after receiving approval in different countries. This process has become much faster than it used to be due to the need and urgency. A long-standing concern, however, are the vaccines’ side effects.
On Apr. 8, after a mass Johnson & Johnson vaccination campaign carried out in North Carolina, several patients had immediate side effects. The day after, 11 more people in Denver presented side effects going from dizziness to nausea. As a result, both vaccination sites were shut down, according to CBS News. “At this point, we have no reason to believe there is anything wrong with the vaccine itself. This is a temporary pause of one brand of vaccine so that we can investigate further,” Dr. Shauna Gulley, Centura Health Chief Clinical Officer, stated.
There were also six cases of blood clots similar to the ones that came up with the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, as mentioned by CBC, which moved the US government to call for a halt in the distribution of this vaccine on Apr. 12. These six cases were registered among a total of 6.8 million doses administered to the latter date, according to the US Food and Drug Administration. “FDA will review that analysis as it also investigates these cases. Until that process is complete, we are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution,” stated the FDA in a release.
Today, Denmark announced a complete halt in the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, now called Vaxzevria, due to new cases of blood clots associated with the vaccine among one in every 40,000 doses administered, according to the BBC. The European Medicines Agency reported that it is still monitoring clot cases. However, it added that the risk of complications derived from COVID-19 outweigh the risk of developing a clot. “COVID-19 is associated with a risk of hospitalization and death. The reported combination of blood clots and low blood platelets is very rare, and the overall benefits of the vaccine in preventing COVID-19 outweigh the risks of side effects,” stated EMA.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have not been registered these types of complications. On Pfizer’s side, some of the side effects registered are fatigue, headache and muscle pain, according to Healthline. In the case of Moderna, the side effects include pain around the injection area along with chills, headache and fever.
Meanwhile, Mexico makes progress with its own vaccine called “Patria.” On Apr. 13th it was announced that CONACYT could be ready for approval by the end of 2021, reported El Economista. The announcement was made by María Elena Álvarez-Buylla Roces, Director of CONACYT, who also mentioned that the recruitment of volunteers for Phase 1 clinical trials had begun. There will be between 90 and 100 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 55 from Mexico City. Results from this trial are expected to be released by the end of May. Emergency approval is expected between November and December 2021, as reported by MBN.