Most AstraZeneca Recipients Report Side Effects

  • By Bae Jun-yong

    April 01, 2021 11:15

    Eight out of 10 medical staff in Korea who were given AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine report systemic side effects.

    Ma Sang-hyuk of the Korean Vaccine Society on Wednesday said there were 7.2 times more adverse reactions from AstraZeneca than Pfizer jabs.

    The KVS conducted an online survey from March 15 to 28 among 532 medical workers who recently received their injections. Some 501 were given AstraZeneca and 31 Pfizer, and 82.7 percent complained of local reactions and 75 percent of systemic reactions.

    Local reactions are the most common side effects like swelling, skin redness and injection site pain, while systemic side effects include fevers, muscle pains, fatigue and anaphylaxis.

    Some 78 percent of AstraZeneca recipients showed systemic reactions compared to 32.3 percent of Pfizer recipients.

    But only 6.2 percent of people who were given AstraZeneca do not want the second shot, though 29.9 percent said they are undecided. In contrast, 97 percent of people who received the Pfizer injection said they want the second shot.

    "We need to monitor the situation, since more side effects were reported in the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine," Ma said. 

    Medical staff wait to see if they have side effects after receiving their AstraZeneca vaccines at Seoul National University Hospital on March 4.

    Younger people tend to be more prone to side effects. Out of AstraZeneca recipients in their 20s, 85.5 percent showed systemic reactions, compared to 84.5 percent in their 30s, 77.7 percent in their 40s and 62.4 percent in their 50s and 60s.

    The results were much higher than a previous study of 18,000 people conducted by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, which showed only 32 percent reporting side effects.

    The U.K. claims only one out of 10 recipients of both vaccines have side effects.

    Prof. Jang Sung-in at Yonsei University said, "The findings suggest that medical workers were more active in participating in the survey and more sensitive to their symptoms than other people." Jang added, "But it seems evident that the AstraZeneca vaccine resulted in more adverse reactions among younger people."

    This means that because they are medical workers, they understand what side effects might feel like better than ordinary people.

    Doctors suggest recipients in their 20s and 30s should have some paracetamol ready in case they get a fever or headache.

    Ma said, "Both vaccines have been given the green light after clinical tests, but we still need to analyze them further, since they have shown strong and frequent side effects compared to ordinary vaccines. Just like Germany, we should consider using other vaccines according to different age groups in order to minimize the rate of side effects."

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