Updated: May 24, 2021
Vaccines have always been safe and part of every reliable method of eradicating viruses-AstraZeneca is no exception.
Source: Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse/The Associated Press
As Vietnam experiences a new outbreak of the coronavirus, vaccines continue to act as a glimmer of hope to end the pandemic in the nation of more than 97 million. Since its vaccination campaign in early March, Vietnam has inoculated about 750,000 people according to the Ministry of Health with more doses on the way. All these vaccinations were carried out using AstraZeneca-so far the only vaccine that Vietnam has in its arsenal against the pandemic.
However, recent news on the rare side effect of AstraZeneca worldwide along with the first death from anaphylaxis in the country has sparked concerns and fear among would-be vaccine receivers.
Addressing the rising sentiment of anti-vaccination and fear, the ministry of Health indicates the deadly side effect to be a “very rare case” in the process of vaccination in one of its statements. This echoes the message from both the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the World Health Organization, citing the vaccine’s benefits far outweighing its potential risks.
So, how dangerous is the vaccine? And should you take it if given the opportunity?
In one of its recent reports on the AstraZeneca vaccine, the EMA concluded that the frequency of potentially deadly severe reactions falls about 1 in 100,000 vaccinated people or about 0.00001%. In a similar report from the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the rate is determined to be 4 in 1 million (or 1 in 250,000) equating to 0.000004%.
Now, if you were like me and were too lazy to count the zeros between the 0. and the final digit, I think that we can all agree that the vaccine is safe and that the chance of severe deadly reaction is feeble.
In contrast, the percentage for fatality from COVID-19 is estimated to be about 2% worldwide since the start of the pandemic. In comparison, this is about 200000 times more likely than developing potentially severe deadly reactions from the vaccine.
If these numbers can tell us one thing about AstraZeneca, it would be that it is safe and a much better alternative than contracting COVID-19 itself and hopes that your immune system can handle the fight.
So, what can we do as teenagers?
As with any topics and discussion, the best course of action is to educate yourself with facts and data. Institutions such as the EMA, the WHO, and the Ministry of Health are all reliable sources of information providing official data and statements.
For further reading and resources:
Ministry of Health official website: https://www.moh.gov.vn/en_US/web/ministry-of-health
World Health Organization (WHO) Weekly Epidemiological and Operational Update: https://covid19.who.int/
European Medicines Agency (EMA) COVID 19 updates:https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/human-regulatory/overview/public-health-threats/coronavirus-disease-covid-19/covid-19-latest-updates
UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/mhra-issues-new-advice-concluding-a-possible-link-between-covid-19-vaccine-astrazeneca-and-extremely-rare-unlikely-to-occur-blood-clots
Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19) – the data: https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus-data