AstraZeneca Covid vaccine: UK adds new side effect to vaccine – recognise the symptoms?

AstraZeneca Covid vaccine: UK adds new side effect to vaccine – recognise the symptoms?

Coronavirus: Half of current cases 'unrecognised' says expert

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The coronavirus pandemic called for a wartime response and the global vaccination campaign met that clarion call. Naturally, health regulatory bodies have kept a close eye on the vaccines as they have spread through populations. Now the UK has added a new side effect to its list of possible side effects for the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) – the UK’s drug regulator – added an extremely rare nerve-damaging disorder to its list of possible side effects for the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine.

According to the MHRA, Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a very rare side effect of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine, the regulatory body announced on Thursday.

Guillain-Barré syndrome is a very rare and serious condition that affects the nerves. It mainly affects the feet, hands and limbs, causing problems such as numbness, weakness and pain.

According to the NHS, it can be treated and most people will eventually make a full recovery, although it can occasionally be life-threatening and some people are left with long-term problems.

THE MHRA’s decision comes after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) added the rare side effect to the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine last month.

At the time of its decision, some 833 cases of the disorder had been reported globally as of July 31 from nearly 600 million administered AstraZeneca vaccines.

The cases had all been reported as suspected side effects following vaccination, although the EMA said they “are not necessarily related to or caused by the vaccine”.

Despite the vanishingly small risk, European health officials added GBS to the vaccine’s product information as a potential side effect.

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The EMA added: “Pain in legs and arms or stomach and influenza-like symptoms have also been included in the product information as side effects.”

What are other symptoms should I be aware of?

At first you may have:

  • Numbness
  • Pins and needles
  • Muscle weakness
  • Problems with balance and coordination.

“These symptoms may continue to get worse over the next few days or weeks before they start to slowly improve,” explains the NHS.

“In severe cases, you may have difficulty moving, walking, breathing and/or swallowing.”

The health body says to see a GP if you notice any of the early symptoms of Guillain-Barré syndrome, such as numbness or weakness.

Why you should get vaccinated

The argument to get vaccinated against COVID-19 is unassailable. The vaccines deployed against COVID-19 slash the risk of severe disease from Covid.

What’s more, the Pfizer booster shot being offered to top up immunity gives 95.6 percent protection, says the pharmaceutical giant.

A booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer was 95.6 percent effective against the coronavirus when compared to a vaccinated group that did not get the third shot, data from a large study released by the companies showed on Thursday.

The booster was tested on 10,000 participants aged 16 and older who had received two doses in its earlier trials.

A booster administered about 11 months after the second shot had a favourable safety profile and worked against the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus, they said.

The data has not been submitted for peer review.

Booster vaccine doses are available on the NHS for people most at risk from COVID-19 who have had a second dose of a vaccine at least six months ago.

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