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ABUNDANCE OF CAUTION

The most ridiculous self-reported side effects to the AstraZeneca vaccine

FILE PHOTO: Arrival of AstraZeneca vaccines in Canada
Reuters/Carlos Osorio
Might cause crying.
  • Annalisa Merelli
By Annalisa Merelli

Reporter

More than a dozen countries—including Germany, Italy, France, and Spain—have suspended their administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine over a handful of reports of people experiencing blood clots following the inoculation.

The precautionary suspension is standard practice when it comes to new drugs, yet it has caused understandable concern in Europe, where it’s being interpreted—in part due to misleading reporting (in Italian)—as a sign the vaccine isn’t safe. In reality, scientists have not found evidence the blood clots were caused by the vaccine.

Further, even the self-reported cases of blood clots is limited to one in 167,000 people—which is essentially the general prevalence of blood clots in the population anyway. Commonly used drugs, such as birth control pills—which are sold without prescription in some countries—have a much higher incidence of blood clots (it’s one in 1,000 cases for birth control).

Because the vaccine is still in its emergency-use stages, all self-reported side effects are recorded, and after being administered to over 11 million individuals in the UK, AstraZeneca has registered quite a few—63 pages worth of side effects, to be specific.

Hundreds of self-reported side effects might sound worrisome but a closer look is actually reassuring. It makes clear that not only are people reporting all sorts of conditions they experience after taking the vaccine, including the ones that could never be caused by the vaccine, but that scientists are diligently keeping a record of it. This is why the vaccine got suspended, even if it is likely safe.

Judge for yourself. From insect bites, to crying, to moaning, here are some of the most unlikely self-reported side effects. They are a lesson in why correlation is not causation—not to mention, a respite from this tiresome vaccine matter.

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