In an extensive report released on Feb. 11, the U.K. government detailed all the adverse reactions reported by both medical personnel and COVID-19 vaccine recipients themselves. The report's scope included all cases between early December 2020 and the end of January 2021.
According to the release, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) received 143 adverse reaction reports attributed to the Pfizer/BioNTech jab. The AstraZeneca vaccine made in partnership with the University of Oxford reported 90 adverse reactions. There were three reactions where the vaccine brand was not mentioned. Furthermore, a total of eight miscarriages were reported following COVID-19 vaccination – five for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and three for the AstraZeneca candidate.
To further monitor vaccine safety alongside mass immunization efforts, the MHRA introduced a Yellow Card Scheme to collect reports of any suspected side effects. More than 20,000 Yellow Card reports were linked to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. On the other hand, the AstraZeneca jab rolled out last Jan. 4 had 11,748 Yellow Card repots. Seventy-two Yellow Card reports did not specify the brand of vaccine.
Elderly people or those with underlying conditions made up the majority of the reports. However, the government said either of the vaccines did not play a role in the fatalities based on a review of individual reports and reporting patterns.
The report mentioned that for both vaccines, an overwhelming majority reported reactions at the injection site such as sore arms and generalized symptoms. These generalized symptoms included headache, chills, fatigue, fever, dizziness and muscle aches. These happen shortly following vaccination and are not associated with more serious illnesses. However, "spontaneous adverse reactions associated with anaphylaxis or anaphylactoid reactions" were also reported – 130 for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and 30 for the AstraZeneca jab.
According to the report, more than 9.2 million first doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the U.K.'s four constituent countries. Meanwhile, 494,209 second doses have been administered in the four areas. (Related: UK to deploy "resuscitation facilities" in coronavirus vaccination centers to treat wave of allergic reactions caused by vaccines.)
The U.K. is not the only country that has reported fatalities following COVID-19 vaccination. A number of medical personnel also died after getting vaccinated against the Wuhan coronavirus – most notably with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
Florida obstetrician Dr. Gregory Michael died in January after getting inoculated with the first Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose. The 56-year-old received his first dose Dec. 18, but small spots appeared on his hands and feet three days after immunization. He then visited the emergency room of his workplace, Mount Sinai Medical Center, where he was confined. Doctors then found out that the obstetrician had zero blood platelets.
Despite undergoing transfusions to restore his platelet count, it did little for Michael. He eventually suffered a stroke and died as he was set to undergo a last-minute surgical procedure. Michael's wife Heidi Neckelmann said: "In my mind, his death was 100 percent linked to the vaccine. There is no other explanation."
Meanwhile in Portugal, health worker Sonia Acevedo died just a mere two days after getting the COVID-19 jab. The 41-year-old mother of two who worked at the Portuguese Institute of Oncology (IPO) in Porto did not report any adverse effects after immunization. Acevedo was among more than 500 Porto IPO staff who were vaccinated against COVID-19 using the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
Sonia's father Abilio Acevedo said his daughter "was okay" and had no health problems. "She had the COVID-19 vaccine, but she didn't have any symptoms," he remarked. Abilio continued that he and his daughter even ate together on New Year's Eve, not knowing that it would be the last time he would see her alive. He subsequently received a call informing him that Sonia was found dead the morning of Jan. 1. "My daughter left home and I never saw her alive again," he lamented.
Sonia's daughter Vania Figueredo meanwhile said that her mother had only complained about the "normal" discomfort in the injection site. Figueredo added that aside from this complaint, her mother felt fine. (Related: Nurse aide dies after receiving work-mandated coronavirus vaccine shot.)