Whenever a new drug or therapy is developed, there is a laborious process of reporting adverse effects. No stone goes unturned – if you have taken it, you are encouraged to report any and all medical conditions that follow, no matter how obscure or downright ridiculous.
This process is particularly important in identifying possible adverse effects of a new vaccine, and as such the UK has begun reporting its findings for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
Containing all the reported reactions following inoculation with the AstraZeneca jab, a new analysis print was released on March 16. The symptoms are all voluntarily submitted as part of the Yellow Card Scheme, which is a submission area for any adverse effects following a drug or vaccine, and the report contains data from early January to March 7. Needless to say, many of them are completely unrelated, and some of them are pretty absurd.
Personal highlights include:
- Genital herpes
- Multiple different bone fractures
- Alcohol poisoning
- Bad breath
- Diet failure
- Breast enlargement
- Electric shock
- Premature ejaculation
- Being stung and/or bitten by arthropods
These are just some of the many "effects" people have voluntarily submitted to their doctors, hoping to help – or maybe just as a strange joke, it really is hard to tell. Unfortunately, while the jab is extremely effective at warding off COVID-19, it seems less so at preventing going too hard on the alcohol or being bitten by a spider – there's always room for improvement.
While we make jokes, the system is incredibly important. The AstraZeneca vaccine in particular has come under heavy fire in recent weeks with allegations by some EU countries that it is linked to increased risk of blood clotting. Despite many countries suspending the vaccine while under investigation, a report announced on March 18 by the European Medicines Agency found them to be unsubstantiated and not linked to the vaccine. The events demonstrate this process works – perhaps too well – and that every vaccine is heavily vetted after release.
Of course, scrolling through the extensive list of adverse effects, some are familiar sights to see on vaccine trials. Headaches, nausea, and pain at the site of injection all make up the vast majority of reports and are commonly seen in many different vaccines. However, vaccines never make it to release if there are serious side-effects, excluding serious allergic reactions which are thought to be extremely rare, occurring just 60 times in 5 million doses of the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine.