COVID19: 300 complaints of vaccine side effects

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Some 301 people in Cyprus have reported experiencing side effects from taking a COVID-19 vaccine since the country’s rollout in December.

According to the Pharmaceutical Services of the Health Ministry, until 12 July, 301 reports of adverse reactions possibly related to COVID-19 vaccination have been filed.

That is a fraction considering Cyprus has jabbed around 500,000 people.

After evaluating each case, the Pharmaceutical services classified 217 (72%) as mild to moderate and 84 (28%) as severe.

Most of the reports were connected with Pfizer’s Comirnaty, followed by AstraZeneca’s Vaxzevria.

Reports on possible side effects of COVID-19 vaccines were filed through the services’ online platform “yellow card” (https://www.phs.moh.gov.cy/yellowcard/index.jsf).

Reporting a possible adverse reaction through the Yellow Card system does not necessarily mean that the vaccine caused the adverse reaction but that the person reporting it suspects that it may be.

The Health Ministry noted that the number and nature of the incidents could not be used as evidence over the safety of vaccines as adverse reactions could well be attributed to any underlying diseases or another undiagnosed ailment not related to the vaccine.

The Pharmaceutical Services, tasked with monitoring the vaccines for any side effects, are encouraging health providers to report any possible reactions to the online platform.

“All reports are subject to continuous review, in cooperation with the European authorities, in order to identify potential new risks,” said the services in a statement.

Until 17 July, 484,793 people received the coronavirus vaccine, while 441,700 are fully vaccinated, according to the Pharmaceutical Services.

Some 130,221 people have received at least one shot of AstraZeneca, of which 114,816 people have completed their vaccination course.

A total of 314,995 people were vaccinated with Pfizer’s Comirnaty, with 274,022 getting both shots.

Moderna’s vaccine was given to 39,577, of which 36,482 people have completed their vaccination.

Some 16,020 people opted for Johnso&Johnson’s single-dose Janssen vaccine.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry announced that Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) would be listed as a very rare side effect of COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen.

A warning will be included in the product information to raise awareness among healthcare professionals and people taking the vaccine.

The European Medicine Agency safety committee, PRAC, assessed the available evidence, including cases reported to the European database for suspected side effects (EudraVigilance) and information from the scientific literature.

PRAC looked at 108 cases of GBS reported worldwide up to 30 June, when over 21 million people had received the vaccine. There was one reported death among them.

After assessing the available data, PRAC considered that a causal relationship between COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen and GBS is possible.