The Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines received Emergency Use Authorization a little more than a month ago. In that time, over 22 million Americans have received the vaccine, and the public is now starting to receive data about the results of the vaccination effort so far. There’s a lot of data to unpack, but it’s easy to see the bottom line: this looks good!
Adverse Reactions vs. Allergic Reaction
Many people who receive the vaccine report side effects. The most common are pain at the injection site, headaches, fatigue, and in some cases chills and fever. These are all what doctors call “adverse reactions.” They’re perfectly normal, may last a couple days, and usually present no serious health risk. Adverse reactions are different from true allergic reactions. According to the CDC, allergic reactions may include symptoms hives, swelling, and respiratory distress. These are not standard side effects, and anyone experiencing such symptoms should seek treatment. All people who showed allergic reactions so far have been treated successfully, and there haven’t been any other serious problems.
What About Anaphlyaxis?
There have been reports of some vaccine recipients experiencing anaphylactic reactions. This is a potentially serious condition that requires immediate treatment. However, according to STAT, such reactions are extremely rare. For every 1 million recipients of the Moderna vaccine, only 6.2 people experienced anaphylaxis. The numbers were even better for the Pfizer vaccine, with 2.1 incidents per 1 million recipients. The likelihood of experiencing this problem is much smaller than the chances of contracting a serious case of Covid-19.
Have Any Vaccine Recipients Died?
Data so far indicates no risk of major health problems or death from either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. Certainly, there have been people who received the vaccine and then passed away some time later. However, the incidence rates of death or other issues among recipients is no higher than in the general population. There is thus no reason to be concerned that such incidents are connected to the Covid-19 vaccine.
Should I Be Concerned?
While it’s very difficult to prove a new vaccine is 100% safe, the data so far is just about as good as it could possibly be. All indications are that the vaccine is safe, most side effects are predictable and minor, and any serious allergic effects are easily treatable.