The Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines and Why We Should Sign Up For It

The Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines and Why We Should Sign Up For It

On 21 February 2021, the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines has arrived in Malaysia almost a year after the COVID-19 vaccine race has begun. This batch of vaccines contains over 300,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The first phase, scheduled to run from 26 February to April, would be provided to frontliners first, followed by the second phase for senior citizens 60 years old and above to be vaccinated between April and August. The third phase, which will run concurrently with the second phase from May until February 2022, would be for the rest of the Malaysians who are 18 and above. While this is welcome news to many Malaysians, some are expressing scepticism and doubt over the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. Not helping matters are news reports of some early recipients of the vaccine from other countries like Germany succumbing to the disease merely hours after they have received the vaccine. Thus, in order to cut down on the confusion, we have carefully and meticulously investigated questions raised about the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, and we have the answers to these questions.

Does the Vaccine Kill People?

There had been 113 reported cases of people dying between one hour and 19 days after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in Germany. However, all of the cases involved people between 79 and 93 years old, and out of the 113 cases, only 20 were infected with COVID-19, and all but one were without full vaccination protection as protection begins seven to 14 days after the second dose, depending on which vaccine you go for. In other words, the deaths after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine were merely coincidental and there was no causal link between the vaccine and the deaths. Vaccines should not be seen as an elixir of immortality that prevents you from all diseases apart from the ones they are designed to vaccinate against.

The Vaccine Has Nasty Side Effects!

As with any other vaccine, the COVID-19 vaccines produce side effects in some people, especially with the second dose producing side effects so potent it even surprises people who study vaccines for a living. However, side effects from vaccines are a normal and expected occurrence as the side effects such as fatigue, mild fever, etc. are signs of your body’s immune cells at work. Only in very rare cases would there be a severe allergic reaction; about 1 or 2 persons in a million have allergic reactions to certain ingredients used in some vaccines. With regards to the various COVID-19 vaccines, about three per million allergic reactions were experienced by those who received the Moderna vaccine, while the same has been experienced by five per million recipients of the Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine. There are some COVID-19 vaccines that do not contain the possible allergens, so even those who are allergic to some vaccines can still be vaccinated. Even so, the side effects of vaccines are nothing compared to the life-threatening diseases that the vaccines prevent.

What About Autism?

No, you can’t get autism from vaccines. This fear was due to a claim by a British former physician named Andrew Wakefield, who published a fraudulent study in 1998 linking the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine with autism while he himself had a personal interest in the matter when he filed for a patent for a single-antigen measles vaccine the year before. It was not until 2010 that The Lancet, the medical journal which published Wakefield’s paper, had formally retracted the paper. In that same year, Britain’s General Medical Council banned Wakefield from practising medicine. Over the years, numerous flaws in the paper have also been uncovered, further casting aspersion on the veracity of the study.

How Else Do We Know the Vaccines are Safe?

All vaccines have undergone rigorous tests through multiple phases, including tests in tens of thousands of volunteers. Only after the vaccines have passed all the tests were they allowed to be administered to the public. The only exception to this is Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, which rolled out before the final trial data had been released; however, data from the last clinical trial are out now, and it shows the vaccine to be over 90% effective. This shows it to be on par with the Pfizer–BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. National Cancer Society of Malaysia (NCSM) general manager Dr M. Murallitharan would like to assure Malaysians that Malaysia is not being used as a testing ground for the vaccines.

Is it Halal?

While some vaccine brands may contain animal-based gelatine as a stabilising ingredient, Datuk Ahmad Amzad Hashim, the Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, assures everyone that all vaccines to be used in Malaysia are halal and do not contain any animal ingredients, making them suitable for vegetarians and vegans as well.

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And there you have it, some of your questions about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines answered. We hope that you can rest assured and go register for your dose of the vaccine as soon as possible. Do you have any other concerns about the vaccine? Let us know in the comments below!

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Written by FlyKLIA

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