27,000 vaccines administered last week, 7 serious side effects reported

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A coronavirus vaccine at East Tallinn Central Hospital. Source: Raigo Pajula/ITK

Last week almost 27,000 coronavirus vaccines were administered in Estonia and seven serious side effects were reported, the Agency of Medicines said in its weekly report (link in Estonian).

There were two serious side effects connected to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and five to the AstraZeneca vaccine between March 22 and 28.

In total, reports of experiencing side effects were reported 178 times in relation to AstraZeneca, 47 to Pfizer/BioNTech Comirnaty and four for Moderna. The vast majority of symptoms were mild.

The diagram below shows the symptoms reported (orange) in relation to the number of total doses (blue) administered last week.

March 22-29: Side effects reported (orange) compared with total vaccines administered (blue). Source: Terviseamet

In total, side effects have been reported in 1.16 percent of cases since December 27.

Find out more about coronavirus vaccinations in Estonia here.

Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine - 47 reports

There were 36 reports made from women and nine from men.

There were two serious side effects reported:

- A delayed allergic reaction occurred several hours after hospitalization which required hospital treatment. The patient is recovering.

- Multiple cranial nerve disease (double vision, right facial numbness) three days after vaccination. The patient required hospitalization. The condition lasted for about a month and the patient is now recovering.

Additionally, 10 people developed coronavirus and a 79-year-old man with severe comorbidities died.

Additionally, there were reports of difficulty swallowing, hypothermia, dizziness, difficulty breathing, sensitivity disorders, sore throat and hoarseness, runny nose, asthma attack, increased blood pressure, flushing, abdominal pain and bloating.

Moderna vaccine - 4 reports

There were four reports related to the Moderna vaccine made last week and all were from women.

None of the reports were serious. One person experienced an increase in blood pressure.

AstraZeneca vaccine - 178 reports

120 reports were from women, 57 from men and in one case the gender is unknown.

There were five serious reactions:

- Vomiting caused by medication.

- In two cases, a hypertensive crisis (sudden and significant increase in blood pressure) occurred after vaccination against the background of common side effects (fever, headache, nausea, etc.). In both cases, hospitalization was required. The patients have recovered.

- An allergic reaction occurred which caused swelling of the throat. The patient has recovered.

- Pulmonary embolism 18 days after vaccination. The patient needed hospital treatment and is recovering.

Additionally, people experienced an increase in blood pressure, epistaxis, bleeding gums, haematomas, back pain, abdominal pain, sore throat, runny nose, hypothermia, anxiety, sensitivity disorders, eye pain and photosensitivity, dizziness, respiratory distress, myalgia and spasms.

1.16 percent experience side effects

Between December 27 and March 29, a total of 255,219 doses of vaccine have been administered in Estonia.

During this period, 2,959 serious reactions have been reported to the Agency of Medicines which is 1.16 percent of all doses. There have been 886 reports for Pfizer/BioNTech, 43 for the Moderna vaccine and 2,030 for the AstraZeneca vaccine.

So far, 155,023 Pfizer/BioNTech doses have been administered, 13,902 Moderna and 86,294 AstraZeneca.

Last week, 11 serious side effects were reported and 11 the week before that.

The Agency of Medicines said a severe or adverse reaction is one where a causal relationship to the administered medicinal product or vaccine cannot be ruled out. 

The majority of side effects have occurred in women because more have been vaccinated. There are more women working in the healthcare and education sectors and they have a longer life expectancy. This means there are more women in the risk and frontline workers groups which are seen as priorities. So far, 122,280 women and 71,985 men have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

The graph below shows the number of vaccines administered by week.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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