Experts allay fear of major side effects | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 25, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:18 AM, January 25, 2021

Experts allay fear of major side effects

As the government is preparing to vaccinate millions of people across the country, likely from February 8, with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines, many people are indecisive due to fears of possible side effects.

Unlike any other vaccine in history, the Covid-19 vaccines were developed fast, causing people to question its safety.

According to experts, however, the Covid-19 vaccines approved so far are safe, or those would not be approved by the regulatory authorities like the US Food and Drug Administration, European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organization.

The Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) has also issued Emergency Use Authorisation for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on January 4.

"With the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, no serious side effect was reported so far. So, there is no reason to hesitate to take this vaccine. As a frontline health worker, I will take this vaccine for sure," Prof Dr Mohammod Robed Amin, line director of the National Centre for Disease Control at the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) told The Daily Star on Thursday.


Like any other vaccine, the Covid-19 vaccines may have some side effects, which are signs that your body is building immunity against the virus, according to the US Center for Disease Control (US-CDC).

These side effects may affect one's ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Common side effects may arise on the arm where the shot is injected and throughout the rest of the body.

The vaccine recipient may feel pain or swelling on the arm where the shot is given.

Throughout the rest of your body, the side effects may appear as fever, chills, fatigue and headaches, according to the US-CDC.

Accordingly, such typical vaccination reactions have also been reported after receiving the AstraZeneca, BioNTech-Pfizer, Moderna, Sinovac and the Russian Sputnik V vaccines, which are already in use.

"Serious allergic shock is the only severe side effect of any

vaccine, which, in case of the Oxford one, was not reported so far," Robed Amin said.


On September 6, the company paused the trial to investigate a patient who developed transverse myelitis -- a dangerous inflammation of the spinal cord, reports MedShadow, an independent non-profit health news site.

Researchers determined that the incident was unrelated to the vaccine and quickly restarted the trial in most countries. It, however, remained paused in the US until October 26.

On October 21, scientists reported a patient in the trial had died.

The trial resumed after it was reported that the patient's death was caused due to other reasons.

In earlier trials, many patients reported mild adverse effects similar to those associated with other vaccines, including injection site pain, rash, headaches, muscle soreness, and fever.

Referring to the primary study result, Robed said, "Most

vaccine recipients will not face any side effect. Only 5-10 percent so far had mild to moderate side effects."

The Oxford vaccine has been approved for use in the U.K., Argentina, India, and Mexico, and received emergency approval in Bangladesh.


The DGHS has set up vaccination centers only in healthcare settings like upazila health complexes, district hospitals or diagnostic centers.

"Every vaccine recipient will be observed for 10-15 minutes after a shot is injected. If anybody faces any side effects even after that, treatment will be arranged in each centers. In that case, a vaccine recipient can call 16263 for DGHS telemedicine service," said Prof ABM Khurshid Alam, director general of the DGHS.

DGHS officials have advised pregnant women, people over

90 or under 18, and those with serious allergic reaction to any drug not to take the vaccine.

The US-CDC has advised taking the second shot timely, even if anyone has side effects after the first shot, unless a vaccination provider or doctor suggests otherwise.

Speaking to The Daily Star, Prof Sayedur Rahman, chairman of pharmacology at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, said, "Some 98 percent of those who will face side effects will be ok within 24 hours after taking the shot. In rare cases, a few might need drugs like paracetamol [to tackle the side effects]."

"The vaccine is the best weapon we have so far to fight Covid-19. So, we have to take the vaccine," he added.


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