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Finland, Mexico report adverse effects to Pfizer vaccine; Argentina sees reactions to Sputnik V: Report

Jan 03, 2021 / 08:57 AM IST

A 32-year-old doctor in Mexico has been admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) due to severe medical allergy to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine

Representative image: Reuters/Marcos Brindicci

Countries that have begun their inoculation drives against the coronavirus have begun reporting cases of adverse reactions to Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine candidate and Russia’s Sputnik V.

Finland has reported its first adverse effect case due to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on January 2. As per the Finnish Medicines Agency, there are “at least five such reports”, ANI reported.

Agency Chief Physician Maija Kaukonen said details of the same will be uploaded to their website, but no other information could be disclosed to maintain patient confidentiality.

Kaukonen noted that the number of such cases is likely to increase due to allergic or adverse reactions.

COVID-19 Vaccine
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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
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Meanwhile, a 32-year-old doctor in Mexico has been admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) due to severe medical allergy to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The doctor developed rashes, suffered seizures, muscle weakness, breathing difficulties and possible encephalomyelitis within half an hour of vaccination, Mexico’s Health Ministry said on January 2, ANI reported.

While cause of the reaction is “being investigated” the patient has a history of allergic reactions to medication.

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Pfizer-BioNTech’s doses are not the only one in the spotlight. Argentina’s Health Ministry on January 2 said only 1 percent of those who received doses of the Sputnik V vaccine developed mild adverse reactions to the shot, ANI reported.

The South American country acquired 300,000 doses, and 317 of the total 32,013 patients (mostly healthcare workers) who received the COVID-19 vaccine since December 29, have so far complained of fever and headaches, it added.

Russia claims Sputnik V is 92 percent effective based on data from 16,000 trial participants.

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Moneycontrol News
first published: Jan 3, 2021 08:57 am
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