Reports of suspected side effects but benefits of vaccine ‘greatly outweighing risks’, says Henry

Reports of suspected side effects but benefits of vaccine ‘greatly outweighing risks’, says Henry

Speaking at the HSE’s briefing yesterday, Dr Henry said that up to February 25, a total of 3,484 reports of suspected side effects related to Covid-19 vaccines had been notified to the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA).

The benefits of the Covid-19 vaccine are greatly outweighing their risks, according to the HSE’s Chief Clinical Officer Colm Henry.

Speaking at the HSE’s briefing yesterday, Dr Henry said that up to February 25, a total of 3,484 reports of suspected side effects related to Covid-19 vaccines had been notified to the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA).

The cumulative figure of total doses of Covid-19 vaccines administered as of that date was reported as 271,594 (dose 1) and 137,935 (dose 2).

Dr Henry noted that the most commonly reported suspected side effects notified were in line with those typically associated with vaccination, including the types of side effects described in Covid-19 vaccine product information.

“The great majority are mild. Muscle pain, mild fever, headaches and so on with some reported cases of anaphylaxis,” he said.

Dr Henry said that the advice that doctors give regarding vaccination and regarding medications is based around whether it produce greater benefit than harm.

“Every medication [that a person takes] has the power to do good. It also has the power to do harm. And a vaccine is no different,” he said.

“The evidence which is going stronger to date is this vaccine has the capacity to give great benefits to those who are most vulnerable and those benefits greatly outweigh the risks that we are seeing to date,” he added.

The latest safety report from the HPRA on Covid-19 vaccines, which relates to reports received up to February 25, shows 2,508 reports of suspected side effects had been made with regard to the mRNA vaccines (Comirnaty and Moderna), 954 related to AstraZeneca and 22 were not specified.

The report shows that with regard to the AstraZeneca vaccine, 10 per cent or more of the suspected side effects reported were: headache, muscle pain, pain in limbs, nausea, feeling unwell, fever.

Less common suspected side effects reported included, but were not limited to altered taste, cough, difficulty breathing, dizziness, increased heart rate/racing heart, insomnia, enlarged lymph nodes, and injection site pain.

In relation to the mRNA vaccines (Comirnaty and Moderna), 10 per cent or more of suspected side effects reported were: dizziness, headache, muscle pain, general pain nausea, tiredness, chills and fever.

Less common suspected side effects reported included, but were not limited to altered taste, cough, difficulty breathing, enlarged lymph nodes, insomnia, increased heart rate/racing heart, blood pressure increase, injection site redness and injection site pain.

Also in relation to mRNA vaccines, the authority said that a small number of reports (8) have been classified by the HPRA as anaphylaxis, which is a serious allergic reaction.In all cases, it said the individuals concerned were reported to have recovered Up to February 25, the HPRA said it had received 17 reports describing elderly patients who passed away following vaccination.

It said in all cases, the patients concerned had underlying conditions and/or concurrent illness, with a small number having tested positive for Covid-19.

“All reports are being carefully reviewed. However, it can be expected that fatalities due to progression of underlying disease or natural causes will continue to occur, including following vaccination. This does not mean that the vaccine caused the deaths,” the HPRA said.

The authority noted that national reporting experience to date continues to support the favourable assessment that the benefits of Covid-19 vaccines outweigh the risks.

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