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Are COVID-19 Vaccines Safe?

Are Covid-19 Vaccines Safe?

Are you regularly asked whether you’ve registered for the COVID-19 vaccine?

Whether on TV, radio, or social media, since the Malaysian government has launched its National Covid-19 Immunization Programme on Feb 24, the question seems to be popping up everywhere.

As of the 19th of May 2021, 1.4 million of the Malaysian population had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. And the vaccination efforts are ramping up across the country.

Yet, if you’ve been watching the news and heard about vaccine-related deaths all around the world, you might be wondering whether COVID-19 vaccines are safe and whether you and your family should get your jabs!

In this post, we’ll review how safe and effective the Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca, and Sinovac vaccines are so that you can make an informed decision on which Vaccine to take.


Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was developed by Pfizer and BioNtech. It is a new type of vaccine called mRNA vaccine. The Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine works by inducing an immune response to viral spike proteins.

These spike proteins stud the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (coronavirus), penetrating your cells and causing infection. The vaccine teaches your cells how to make the spike protein, which will trigger an immune response and help you fight the COVID-19.

Here are some key facts about this vaccine:

  • The WHO approved the use and global rollout of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine for people aged over 16 based on stringent clinical trials, studies, and assessments. It has also recently been approved for younger adolescents aged 12 to15 years old. According to the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization, the vaccine is safe and effective.

  • The vaccine has a 91.3% efficacy rate against COVID-19, up to six months after the second dose.

  • The vaccine is 100% effective in preventing severe disease as defined by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • The vaccine is 95% effective in preventing severe illness or death from variants.

  • A recent real-life study in the UK shows that the vaccine is working. Three weeks after the first jab, infection rates among people inoculated dropped 74%, immensely reducing the pressure on hospitals and intensive care units. And those who have received the second Pfizer jab are now 90% less likely to become infected.

  • While a tiny proportion of deaths have been attributed to the vaccine, no evidence linking the vaccine to the deaths has been found.

The most common side effects include tiredness, muscle or joint pain, and chill or fever.


AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine

The AstraZeneca vaccine has received a lot of bad publicity over the last few months. Yet, it has proven incredibly effective at reducing death and severe illness related to the COVID-19.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The WHO has approved the Astrazeneca vaccine for people aged over 18 after thoroughly testing tens of thousands of people. It has therefore been deemed safe to use.

  • Over 23 million people have had the vaccine in the UK. Thirty-two died after receiving the jabs. While any death is tragic, it represents a very small proportion of the vaccinated population, with the vast majority of people showing no sign of any complications.

  • A single dose of this vaccine is 86% effective in preventing infections in people aged 60 and older.

  • The vaccine has an efficacy rate of between 63% and 90% against the SARS-CoV-2 infection across all age groups.

  • The risk of a clot is one in 100,000 for people in their 40s and increases to one in 60,000 for people in their 30s.

  • The vaccine has prevented more than 10,000 deaths of people aged 60 and over in the UK.

  • Some of the most common side effects include headaches, redness at the injection site, chills, or muscle aches. Rare side effects include blood clots.

CoronaVac (Sinovac)

Sinovac COVID-19 Vaccine

Sinovac is a Beijing-based biopharmaceutical company, which developed CoronaVac, an inactivated vaccine. It works by exposing the body’s immune system to killed viral particles, then generating an immune response to help fight the infection.

Here are some important facts about this vaccine:

  • CoronaVac is still undergoing numerous international clinical trials, so data is lacking when it comes to its actual effectiveness.

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has confirmed that the Sinovac vaccine is safe to use despite not being approved by the WHO yet.

  • The vaccine has been approved and deemed safe in 45 countries.

  • The Sinovac study shows a 50% efficacy rate for very mild disease, 84% efficiency rate for infections requiring some medical intervention, and 100% efficiency rate for moderate-to-severe Covid cases. Yet, the study doesn’t include a representative amount of older adults or people with comorbidities.

  • According to the WHO, the Sinovac vaccine is effective for adults under 60. However, there is a lack of data and evidence for adults over 60.

  • According to the latest Chilean clinical trial, the vaccine is 56.5% effective two weeks after the second dose.

  • The Sinovac vaccine has a 50% efficiency rate against the Brazilian variant.

  • A study has shown that the vaccine is safe for children and adolescents.

  • The most common side effects include elevated blood pressure, headache, injection site pain, and rash.

So, Should You Get Vaccinated?

Man getting vaccinated by a nurse with the COVID-19 Vaccine

Numerous studies have shown that Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective in preventing infections and hospitalizations due to the COVID-19.

The COVID-19 virus is deadly and has unfortunately taken the lives of many over the last 15 months. Indeed, more than 3.4 million people have already succumbed to the virus. And this number is expected to increase as deadly variants emerge and certain countries are slow to roll out their vaccination campaigns.

So far, 1.56 billion vaccine doses have been administered across the planet. While some people have, unfortunately, died after being vaccinated, the proportion is statistically extremely low and in line with what would be expected with any other vaccine. For instance, in the US, the number of COVID-19 ‘’vaccine deaths’’ is (0.0017%). Besides, out of 36 million vaccinations in the UK, a statistically low number of 1,102 deaths has occurred so far.

What’s more, most of the deaths occurred for people who had pre-existing conditions.

As with any other medicine and vaccine, the decision to receive one of the COVID-19 vaccines ultimately comes down to one single question; do you believe that the benefits outweigh the risks?

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