COVID-19 vaccination: The sooner the better

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BANGKOK (NNT) – Although doctors have repeatedly stressed that the benefits of a COVID-19 vaccination outweigh any risks, some people are still concerned about having an adverse reaction.

Professor of Pediatrics of the Division of Infectious Diseases of Mahidol University’s Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Prof. Dr. Kulkanya Chokephaibulkit, who is an expert in COVID-19 vaccines and their side effects, has provided information about the vaccines developed by Sinovac and Astrazeneca. The AstraZeneca vaccine is the country’s primary vaccine against the virus.

Prof. Dr. Kulkanya said the Sinovac vaccine has potential mild side effects, such as fever, fatigue, headache and nausea. The side effects are safe and they don’t last for more than three days. After Sinovac doses were administered to some 1 million people in Thailand, 82 out of 1 million recipients, or 0.008 percent, suffered from fatigue. Twelve out of 1 million recipients, or 0.0012 percent, had serious adverse reactions.

Reported side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine include fever, fatigue, headache and nausea. Sixteen out of 1 million recipients, or 0.0016 percent, had serious adverse reactions. In other countries, four out of one million recipients suffered from blood clots. There have been no reports of blood clots among recipients in Thailand.

As for COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, 50 to 80 percent of the recipients developed fever and fatigue. In the United States, one case per 100,000 people, who received the Pfizer vaccine, developed a serious allergic reaction.

In Thailand, mild reactions, such as fatigue and headaches, are more common among young vaccine recipients. Nonetheless, unvaccinated people, who have tested positive for COVID-19, may suffer more serious complications.

The physician added that having vaccine options is beneficial because it can reduce concerns as well as side effects. However, all brands of COVID-19 vaccine can help reduce the severity of the infection and chance of death. Therefore, people should not wait to receive their ideal vaccine. The sooner people get vaccinated, the sooner they are protected. Besides, the outcomes will not differ significantly.

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