The Big Question: Are vaccines safe or is there a negative side to them?

Dr Prashant Pawar(IANS)-

With several people, especially young, seen suffering from heart diseases and other ailments in the country after nearly three years of the pandemic, the burning question that lies before us is: Are vaccines safe or is there a negative side to them, as there are now studies linking myocarditis (heart inflammation) with a second Covid dose?

The COVID-19 pandemic began in December 2019 and impacted various communities and countries worldwide. Although many therapeutic compounds and drugs have been suggested and repurposed in the fight against COVID-19, they remain supportive treatment options.

The only way to combat the virus was to develop a vaccine that would allow the immune system to create protection against the infection. Since vaccines stimulate the body’s adaptive immunity and prevent illness, developing COVID-19 vaccines was essential to ensure control of the pandemic, which is eventually what happened.

To introduce COVID-19 vaccines, health agencies, university researchers, and medical companies combined many resources to make them a reality. However, there are still a few uncertainties around these vaccines’ efficacy and safety.

The most common side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine were fatigue/tiredness (58.20 per cent), injection site pain and swelling (53.45 per cent), headache (46.99 per cent), sleepiness and laziness (45.36 per cent), chills (43.87 per cent), Myalgia (42.34 per cent), joints pain (41.48 per cent), and fever (37.37 per cent), respectively and, rarely, Myocarditis.

Further, there was a significant association between the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses and the number of resulting side effects (p = 0.00). The side effects tend to be more noticeable after the first dose.

However, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), side effects after the second dose may be more intense. In addition, the propensity for infection with COVID-19 significantly decreased among participants who received the double dose of the vaccine (p = 0.00), implying the value of obtaining the complete vaccination.

Coming to Myocarditis, defined as the inflammation of the heart muscle, it was found that the disease was more common after severe acute respiratory syndrome caused by the COVID-19 virus, rather than after receiving the COVID-19 vaccination.

However, the risks in younger people and after sequential vaccine doses are less certain. Based on passive surveillance reporting in the US, the risk of Myocarditis after receiving mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines was increased across multiple age and sex strata. It was highest after the second vaccination in adolescent males and young men.

This risk should be considered in the context of the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination.

(Dr Pawar is Consultant-Cardiology at Fortis Hiranandani Hospital Vashi, Navi Mumbai. He can be reached at

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