Currently, in various parts of the world, 20 COVID-19 vaccines have been authorized for use. In this feature, we take a look at the types and their reported side effects.
The table below gives an overview of the 20 authorized vaccines, classified by type, depending on how they work. It also shows their effectiveness.
Each of the following vaccines has been approved for use in at least one country.
|Last name||Maker||Vaccine type||Efficiency rate|
|Ad26.COV2.S||Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)||Viral vector||66%|
|AZD1222 (Vaxzevria)||Oxford-AstraZeneca||Viral vector||81.3% Trusted Source|
|Covishield**||Serum Institute of India||Viral vector||81.3%|
|Sputnik V||gamelea||Viral vector||91.6% Trusted Source|
|Sputnik light||gamelea||Viral vector||79.4%|
|BBIBP-CorV||Sinopharm (Beijing)||Inactivated||79.34% Trusted Source|
|Inactivated (Vero Cell)||Sinopharm (Wuhan)||Inactivated||72.51%|
|CoviVac (KoviVac)||Chumakov Center||Inactivated||Unknown|
|QazCovid-in (QazVac)||Kazakhstan RIBSP||Inactivated||Unknown|
|SARS-CoV-2 vaccine (Vero cells)||Minhai Biotechnology Co||Inactivated||Unknown|
|COVID-19 Inactivated Vaccine (COVIran Barekat)||Shifa Pharmed Industrial Co||Inactivated||Unknown|
|RBD-dimer||Anhui Zhifei Longcom||Protein subunit||Unknown|
|CIGB-66 (Abdala)||Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology||Protein subunit||92.28%|
* TAK-919 is the Moderna vaccine produced for Japan.
** Covishield is the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine produced for India.
For Ad5-nCov (CanSino), Sputnik Light, Covaxin, CoronaVac (Sinovac) and CIGB-66 (Abdala), the reported efficacy data have not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Comparison of side effects of vaccines
Based on the highest group of side effects found (those over 55 and over 2), this table compares the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine to the common influenza vaccine and the shingles vaccine.
Chart source: Jesse O’Shea, MD
Vaccines allow the body to build immunity by activating T and B lymphocytes, cells which, respectively, recognize the target virus and produce antibodies to fight it.
A vaccine cannot cause COVID-19. No vaccine contains a complete form of the virus that causes this disease.
Although their body develops immunity, it is normal for a person to experience minor side effects.
- a fever
A person may also experience side effects around the injection site, which is usually the upper arm. These can include swelling, pain, redness, an itchy rash, and other mild forms of irritation.
Health officials recognize that each of the 15 licensed COVID-19 vaccines can cause side effects. These are often mild and only last a few days. They are not unexpected.
Recently, there have been new concerns about the serious side effects of COVID-19 vaccines.
These effects can be accidental, and there is currently not enough conclusive evidence to link these effects to specific vaccines. However, regulators are taking precautionary measures to investigate these safety issues.
Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna
The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are both two-dose mRNA vaccines . People have reported similar and common side effects after everyone’s second dose.
These COVID-19 vaccines are the first vaccines approved for use in humans that incorporate mRNA technology. As a result, the long-term effects and the risk of altering the organism’s genetic information are cause for concern.
People may not know that researchers have spent many years studying the potential of mRNA vaccine technology. There have been efforts to develop mRNA vaccines in the past, including Moderna’s human trial of a Zika virus mRNA vaccine.
In addition, it is unlikely that an mRNA vaccine could alter the genetic information. The mRNA from a vaccine does not enter a cell’s nucleus, where DNA is stored, and it breaks down quite quickly in the body once it has served its purpose.
Still, many were alarmed by reports from Norway that 23 people had died shortly after receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. However, there is no evidence that these deaths were a direct result of the vaccine.
“It is possible that these common side effects – which are not dangerous in fitter and younger patients and are not unusual with vaccines – could worsen the underlying disease in the elderly,” suggests Dr. Steinar. Madsen, Medical Director of the Norwegian Medicines Agency. .
“We are now asking doctors to continue with the vaccination, but to conduct further evaluation of very ill people whose underlying condition might be made worse by this,” he adds.
Another death, in the United States, was associated with a low platelet count, or thrombocytopenia . So far, 20 cases of thrombocytopenia have developed following a Pfizer or Moderna vaccination. Currently, however, there is no causal evidence linking these cases to the vaccines.
Other concerns relate to pregnancy and fertility. According to a February 2021 statement from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine:
“Although fertility has not been specifically studied in clinical trials of the vaccine, no loss of fertility has been reported among trial participants or among the millions of people who have received the vaccines since their authorization, and none have been reported. sign of infertility has only appeared in animal studies. Loss of fertility is scientifically unlikely.
A study conducted on behalf of the CDC’s v-safe COVID-19 Pregnancy Registry team – the preliminary results of which were published in the NEJM on June 17, 2021 – found that mRNA vaccines presented no demonstrable danger for pregnant women.
The CDC further notes that there is currently no evidence that any of the COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility in women or men.
There have been a few reports of myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle, and pericarditis, or inflammation of the lining outside the heart, after receiving mRNA vaccines.
Following these reports, on June 25, 2021, the FDA added revisions to the patient and healthcare provider information sheets for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to add a note on the possibility of experiencing these related side effects. in the heart.
In patient information sheets, the FDA states that, for people who experienced myocarditis or pericarditis after their vaccine, “symptoms started within a few days of receiving the second dose” of a vaccine. MRNA.
However, the federal agency also adds that “[t] he risk of this happening is very low.” Additionally, the CDC notes that these side effects are more likely to occur in adolescents and young adults, and that most of those who seek and receive immediate care respond quickly to treatment.
The FDA notes that the symptoms of myocarditis and pericarditis that people should watch out for after a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine are chest pain, shortness of breath, and “the feeling of having a fast beating, beating, or beating heart.” strong ”.
Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)
The Janssen vaccine can also cause common side effects from the vaccine.
The vaccine product information document provides details on the precautions to be taken and the expected effects.
Following reports of eight cases of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), a rare and severe blood clotting disorder and low platelet count, the CDC and the FDA briefly advised to suspend distribution of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine in April 2021.
After conducting a safety review, the two federal agencies lifted the recommended break, concluding that the “known and potential benefits of the vaccine outweigh its known and potential risks in people 18 years and older” and that the risk of STT after vaccination was “very low”.
However, they advised healthcare professionals and vaccinees to familiarize themselves with the revised Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet for Vaccine Administering Healthcare Providers (Vaccine Providers) Trusted Source and Fact Sheet. information for beneficiaries and caregivers , which now includes information on the risk of STT.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) safety committee has also advised Janssen to include a warning about TTS in the product information for its COVID-19 vaccine.
As of July 12, 2021, the FDA , in turn, has added a warning that some people who receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine could develop Guillain-Barré syndrome , a rare neurological and autoimmune disease that causes muscle weakness. and paralysis.
According to the FDA, symptoms of this syndrome can appear within the first 42 days after vaccination. However, the “chance of this happening is very low,” the agency also notes.
Oxford-AstraZeneca and Serum Institute of India
The EMA and the Danish Health Authority have observed that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been followed by incidents of blood clots.
On April 7, 2021, the EMA concluded that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine should carry a TTS warning as a very rare side effect.
Several countries, including Denmark, Norway, Germany and France, initially suspended the distribution of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine as a precautionary measure at the first reports of blood clots. On April 14, 2021, Denmark decided to completely stop the distribution of this vaccine.
On April 15, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health recommended stopping the distribution of the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Janssen vaccines in the country, due to the risk of blood clots.
The Germany and France took over the administration of the vaccine Oxford AstraZeneca Covid-19. However, distribution could eventually stop altogether, as the EU has not renewed its order for doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine beyond June 2021.
The Serum Institute of India’s Covishield is the locally made version of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. India has not reported any blood clotting incidents linked to Covishield and currently has no plans to halt its distribution.
Drug regulatory agencies in India are still closely scrutinizing the data, however, to make sure there is no causal link.
As with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, some cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome have been reported in some people who have received the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
For this reason, on July 9, 2021, the EMA recommended adding a warning to the vaccine label to reflect this potential risk. However, the agency also noted that it is not yet fully confirmed that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is directly responsible for the development of this disorder in those who have experienced it.
CanSino and Gamelaya
Both CanSino and gamelea use adenovirus type 5 (Ad5) as the delivery vehicle. The research evaluated in trials of these vaccines have revealed that they were causing common side effects, none of which were serious.
However, a team that included Dr Juliana McElrath, director of the Division of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, raised concerns about the use of Ad5 in COVID-19 vaccines.
A 2008 study found that the Ad5 HIV-1 vaccine was linked to an increased susceptibility to HIV infection. Several Trusted Source tracking studies found similar results to support this link.
Researchers recommend a cautious approach to Ad5-based COVID-19 vaccines, especially in areas worst affected by the HIV and AIDS epidemic .
Data from Bharat Biotech’s Phase 1 and 2 trials of Covaxin show no serious side effects. Otherwise, there is little information about the risk of side effects.
Sinopharm: Beijing and Wuhan
Sinopharm has manufactured two vaccines, developed with the Institute of Biologics in Beijing and Wuhan respectively.
Phase 1 and 2 trials for the CoronaVac vaccine do not indicate any reports of serious adverse events.
Interestingly, the study authors found fewer reports of fever in participants who received this vaccine, compared to those who received the Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca, or CanSino vaccines.
CoviVac and QazCovid-in
Regarding QazCovid-in, its developers have reassured the public that “the vaccine is harmless”. Asked about the lack of published data on the vaccine, they said they “don’t have time […] to write articles”.
Anhui Zhifei Longcom
There are currently no publicly available, peer-reviewed data on the safety or efficacy of the dimeric receptor binding domain, or RBD-dimeric, vaccine. A preprint document indicates that no serious adverse events were reported during a trial.
EpiVacCorona is the second COVID-19 vaccine approved in Russia, and trials to determine its safety and effectiveness are underway.
Tatyana Golikova, Deputy Prime Minister of the country, notes : “Unlike the first Russian vaccine, Sputnik V, which is a vector vaccine, that is to say produced based on adenovirus, the new vaccine […] is made up of short fragments of artificially synthesized viral proteins. , peptides, by which the immune system learns, then recognizes and neutralizes the virus.
Manage side effects
According to Dr. Brady, taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen before your vaccine is not recommended to avoid potential side effects. “Some pain relievers can prevent the vaccine from doing its job,” Dr. Brady said. “Anti-inflammatory drugs could suppress the immune response, potentially resulting in fewer antibodies. “
If you are already taking pain relievers for another medical condition, Dr. Brady tells you to keep doing it. However, if you are not and feel you need pain relievers, “I use Tylenol, avoid ibuprofen, and wait until after symptoms appear,” Dr. Brady said.
You can also manage the symptoms. If you have pain or swelling in the arm where you received your injection, movement and exercise of your arm is encouraged, as well as the application of a cool washcloth to the area. If you have a fever, drink plenty of fluids and dress lightly. If you have chills, fatigue, or a headache, try resting and covering yourself with a blanket.
In most cases, discomfort from fever or pain is normal, according to the CDC. Contact your healthcare provider if the redness or tenderness where you received the injection increases after 24 hours or if your side effects do not seem to go away after a few days.
“Generally speaking, the side effects have a benefit,” Dr. Brady noted. “As a general rule, the more side effects the vaccine causes, it usually means that the more antibodies your body makes, the stronger your immune response will be against the transmission of the virus. “
Dr Brady adds, “The second dose can cause more side effects and faster. The first dose prepares the body and instructs the immune system to respond strongly to the second dose.
Some people’s immune systems will respond more than others and most people who have had COVID-19 may experience a stronger reaction to the first dose because they are one step ahead of building antibodies.
“I encourage everyone to read up on these vaccines, to speak to your health care provider if you have any questions – most clinicians in this region have been vaccinated themselves,” Dr Brady said. In fact, 87% of Samaritan clinicians have been vaccinated. “The bottom line is that this vaccine is safe and very effective and has been shown to protect you against COVID-19 disease. “
“These vaccines offer us a glimmer of hope to get through this pandemic, and the more of us who are able to receive this vaccine in order to protect the most vulnerable members of society, the faster we can resume a normal life,” he said. -he declares. . “We are all very excited about these vaccines and we are working hard to make them available to the community as soon as we receive them. “