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Study Reveals Side Effects of COVID-19 Vaccines

COVID-19 vaccines produce some very serious side effects such as Guillain Barré syndrome, but for the most part these are rare.

Back in the summer of 2020, people could hardly wait for COVID-19 vaccines to be developed so that the pandemic would end. Within a few months, people were starting to report side effects such as Bell’s palsy or a false-positive result on mammograms. A new study published in the journal Vaccine reveals some interesting discoveries about the side effects of COVID-19 vaccines (Vaccine, Feb. 12, 2024).

What Serious Side Effects Do COVID-19 Vaccines Cause?

This study, called the Global Vaccine Safety Project, included 99 million people from eight countries. Australia, Canada, Argentina, Denmark, Finland, France, New Zealand and Scotland participated. All vaccinated large numbers of people and have good health records for tracking the outcomes.

In general, serious side effects were rare. The researchers predicted how frequently a severe complication might occur based on the rates before the pandemic began. For example, they estimated rates of myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle, in a healthy unvaccinated population. This problem was twice as common following vaccination. Nonetheless, there were relatively few cases.

Guillain Barré syndrome, a neurological complication that causes temporary paralysis, was more common after the AstraZeneca vaccine. The researchers predicted 76 cases of Guillain Barré in healthy unvaccinated people. They actually observed 190 cases. That’s about 2.5 times more than baseline.

Another serious, but rare complication was acute disseminated encephalomyelitis following the Moderna vaccination. Scientists expected 2 cases among 10 million people vaccinated. Instead, they reported 7.

In Conclusion:

The conclusion seems to be that COVID vaccines do indeed cause vascular and neurological adverse reactions, but the overall incidence is low. An independent study of COVID-19 vaccines demonstrated that vaccinated individuals have a reduced risk for severe outcomes, including Long COVID (Vaccines, Feb. 2024).

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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  • Faksova K et al, "COVID-19 vaccines and adverse events of special interest: A multinational Global Vaccine Data Network (GVDN) cohort study of 99 million vaccinated individuals." Vaccine, Feb. 12, 2024. DOI: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2024.01.100
  • Man MA et al, "Impact of pre-infection COVID-19 vaccination on the incidence and severity of post-COVID syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis." Vaccines, Feb. 2024. DOI: 10.3390/vaccines12020189
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