Reporting of vaccine side effects rises ten-fold

Maia Uusküla
Maia Uusküla Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Mainly as a result of the coronavirus vaccination program, the reporting of vaccine side effects has increased by 10-fold this year, Head of the pharmaco-vigilance office at the State Agency of Medicines (Raviamet) Maia Uusküla says.

"As of Sunday, we have been reported 6,230 cases of side effects only for Covid vaccines. There are 60-100 notifications in a week depending on whether we get the so-called inefficiency notices from hospitals. Compared to previous years there are ten times more reports," Uusküla said.

She said that people have become very conscious and report everything - both what's already known as a simple reaction after vaccination and also more serious reactions. "Of course, we have a lot of notifications unrelated to vaccination," she added.

The most common side effect that people report is painful lymph nodes. "I think that everything that is disturbing is reported when they last for more than half a day or a day," Uusküla said.

Uusküla noted that the side effects vary depending on the vaccine type.

"We have two types of vaccines. There are adenoviral vector vaccines and others are mRNA vaccines. When we take mRNA vaccines, then their side effect is myocarditis, which is treated immediately, is not dangerous," she said.

"In the case of these vaccines, we can say there's a connection, the myocarditis has occurred maximum in a month after getting vaccinated. But the myocarditis isn't self-diagnosed, the patient feels unwell, tests are run and only then it's possible to confirm the diagnosis," she said.

With the second type vaccine, Janssen and Vaxzervia vaccines, the most serious side effect, which can end badly if the symptoms aren't noticed, is the thrombosis syndrome with thrombocytopenia, Uusküla commented.

"Thrombosis with the thrombocytopenia cases have only been reported twice. One ended with death, in the second case, the patient was treated quickly, healed and everything is okay. But there have been bleedings without thrombocytopenia - there have been five cases, eight thrombocytopenia cases so there have been such cases," she said.

Giving examples of reports that are not related to the vaccine, Uusküla stated that it is often related to what was published in the media. "Everything that is reported to us is very much related to what was seen in a newspaper or on television a few days ago. If there is a broadcast of aching muscles, there are a lot of reports of muscle pain. "There have been many reports of thrombosis with other vaccines," she said.

"But people have to understand that if they have thrombosis risks anyway - being overweight, smoking, previous blood clots, high blood pressure - then they are always at risk from a thrombosis, then there is no causal connection," Uusküla stressed

However, the representative of the State Agency of Medicines said that there are extremely few serious cases that require hospital treatment or have been fatal.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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