Fewer people reporting coronavirus vaccination side effects
Fewer people in Estonia are reporting side effects potentially linked to the coronavirus vaccines, data shows. Experts say more reports are made when people feel pressured to get vaccinated.
In 2021, the year coronavirus vaccines became widely available, the Agency of Medicines received almost 5,700 notifications about possible self-reported side effects.
Last year, 530 were submitted. Of these, in 240 cases people believe side effects were linked to the vaccines.
"Compared to last year, the situation has obviously calmed down and the number of vaccine doses and notifications is much lower," said Maia Uusküla, head of the agency's Drug Safety Department.
She said published research shows more complaints are made when people feel forced or pressured into doing something, such as getting vaccinated.
Last year, the majority of people vaccinated against COVID-19 believed it was necessary and Uusküla said people worried less about short-term reactions.
The majority of last year's reports were made in January and Feburary after the announcement of the vaccination compensation fund, which launched in May.
"The fact that there was a lot of talk about vaccine insurance had a big impact. Then a lot of people came forward, hoping to find out if they qualified," said Uusküla.
Riho Peek, head of the financial department of the Health Insurance Fund, said: "As of today, we have received 1,273 applications, 800 of which we have sent to the Agency of Medicines for assessment. We have received nearly 500 evaluations back, of which 40 have been positive decisions, i.e. paid out."
In total, €144,000 has been paid out. Cases are only considered if side effects lasted for at least four months, were registered with a doctor and the dose was administered in Estonia.
The agency investigated cases where people died relatively soon after being vaccinated but has so far found no link.
Applications can be submitted until May. Peek said the review process is currently behind schedule.
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Editor: Helen Wright