Trump Covid vaccine czar says side effects are ‘significantly noticeable’ in 10% to 15% of recipients

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President Donald Trump’s coronavirus vaccine czar said on Tuesday that Pfizer and Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccines are safe, with only 10% to 15% of volunteers reporting side effects that were “significantly noticeable”.
Side effects, which come from vaccines, can last for up to a day and a half, said Dr Moncef Slaoui, who heads the Trump administration’s Covid-19 vaccination program, Operation Warp Speed. People who suffered side effects reported redness and pain at the injection site as well as fever, chills, muscle aches and headaches, he said, adding that most of people had no noticeable side effects.

“The longest and most important adverse events such as certain autoimmune diseases or others were not reported differently between the placebo group and the vaccine group in these two trials, which is very reassuring” , he told the Washington Post. “I always make sure we say that [while] we know the short term and i will call it the medium term effects of the vaccine is now well understood, very long term safety is not yet understood by definition. ”

Slaoui’s comments come as states prepare to distribute a Covid-19 vaccine in as little as two weeks. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel is expected to vote later Tuesday to determine who will be the first to receive a vaccine once it has been cleared by U.S. regulators.

Last month, doctors told the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, an external group of medical experts who advise the CDC, that officials should talk more about the potential side effects of vaccines so the public will know what is wrong. ‘wait and don’t be afraid. get a second dose. The vaccines from both companies require two doses approximately one month apart to achieve maximum effectiveness.

“We really need to make patients aware that this isn’t going to be a walk in the park,” Dr. Sandra Fryhofer of the American Medical Association told the CDC advisory group on Nov. 23. “They will know they had a vaccine. They are probably not going to feel good. But they have to come back for that second dose. ”

Moderna and Pfizer have acknowledged that their vaccines could induce side effects similar to symptoms associated with mild Covid-19, such as muscle aches, chills and headaches.

Participants in Moderna and Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine trials told CNBC in September they experienced a high fever, body aches, severe headache, day-long exhaustion and other symptoms after receiving injections. While the symptoms were uncomfortable and sometimes intense, participants said they often left after a day, sometimes earlier, and it was better than taking Covid-19.

Although long-term side effects are not yet fully understood, Slaoui said it was important to deploy a vaccine as soon as possible because the pandemic “kills 2,000 or more than 2,000 people a day.”

“These 95% effective vaccines are insurance against that,” he said, adding that the vaccines had already been tested in more than 50,000 people. “It will be very important for the most sensitive parts of our population to get these vaccines. And we will be looking at the safety of these vaccines in real life through some very elaborate processes and reporting on it continuously. ”

During last week’s consultative meeting, Patsy Stinchfield, a children’s nurse practitioner in Minnesota, said officials and drug makers could try to talk about side effects in a more positive way. She said they could use language such as “response” instead of “adverse reaction”. “These are immune responses,” said Stinchfield, a former voting member of the committee. “And so, if you feel anything after the vaccination, you should expect to feel that way. When you do, it’s normal to have arm pain or fatigue, body aches, and maybe even a fever. Sounds like some of those tries, maybe even having to stay home after work. ”

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