The Philippines’ vaccination officially began 1 March 2021 shortly after the arrival of the first batch of vaccines from Sinovac.
The Department of Health (DOH) as of 25 March 2021 said about 608,000 individuals have been vaccinated in the country with the government planning to start a mass vaccination program this month.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued emergency use authorizations (EUA) to the Pfizer–BioNTech, Oxford–AstraZeneca, Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines, and Gamaleya-Sputnik V.
There are eight other vaccines on order for the program, at varying stages of development.
As of 7 March 2021, the Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said that over 11.7 million Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccinations had been given. According to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) More than 10% of recipients in the clinical trials experienced adverse effects, mostly mild in nature, including “injection site tenderness, injection-site pain, headache, fatigue, myalgia, malaise, pyrexia (fever), chills, arthralgia, and nausea”.
Last March 26, 2021. The author has been vaccinated by his first dose of the Astrazeneca vaccine. Quoting the experience
“I was vaccinated at 10:00 am in the morning and was advised to take Paracetamol after vaccination and take it every six (6) hours as needed as well as lots of fluids, but I resorted to skip the drug to personally see when the side effects would start (if it does) and how heavy it would be for me. I started feeling feverish at 8:00 pm, more than 10 hours after the jab and my temperature started to go beyond 37.5 degrees Celsius, this was expected. Because I was yet to get off from duty at that time, I took the medication. The paracetamol did wonders as I was able to go on normally through the night, until the early morning when likely the effect of the acetaminophen drug wore off and I had to take another tablet to alleviate the fever. Overall I had to take paracetamol three times in a span of more or less 18 hours and I was well after.”
This was within the EMA’s lists of normal adverse side effects post injection. The author only experienced fever which was taken care of by paracetamol. The side effects might be different for some individuals as the author and some of his colleagues went back to hospital duties sans problems after vaccination, while some excused themselves to rest as side effects showed faster and were a bit more severe. [READ also: Sinovac and Astrazeneca vaccines are safe and effective (Part 1)]
For Sinovac, the safety profile has been established in a paper published in the Lancet last November 2020 where it states that that two doses of CoronaVac (Sinovac) at different concentrations and using different dosing schedules were well tolerated and moderately immunogenic in healthy adults aged 18–59 years.
The incidence of adverse reactions in the two groups were similar, indicating no dose-related safety concerns. Furthermore, most adverse reactions were mild, with the most common symptom being injection-site pain, which is in accordance with previous findings for another inactivated COVID-19 vaccine from Sinopharm (Beijing China).
Compared with other COVID-19 vaccine candidates, such as viral-vectored vaccines or DNA or RNA vaccines (like the Astrazeneca vaccine), the occurrence of fever after vaccination with CoronaVac / Sinovac was relatively low. The Author’s colleagues inoculated with sinovac, as evidence have suggested, had only injection site pain as a side effect and little to no reports of fever.
In conclusion, people need to understand that the difference between a treatable adverse side effect from a vaccine vs the real risk of death from COVID-19 is not the same, and this should be communicated effectively.