Study: Fears Of A Rare Side Effect Unfounded In Coronavirus Vaccines

Published: Saturday, October 24, 2020 - 2:00pm
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Almost half of Americans say they would not get a COVID-19 vaccine if it were available today, according to a September poll by the Pew Research Center.

A new review in the journal Science Translational Medicine by the Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) Working Group, a subcommittee of the National Institutes of Health, might help allay those fears. 

Vaccine opponents often cite rare reactions, such as the possibility that immune responses prompted by a vaccine might strengthen the virus's effects during future encounters.

In the review, lead author Dr. Barton Haynes, director of the Duke Human Vaccine Institute, found no evidence this will occur with coronavirus vaccines, especially given the lack of bad reactions to current antibody and convalescent plasma treatments.

"Quite the opposite. Abundant evidence is becoming available that enhanced disease following immunization against SARS-CoV-2 will not be a problem," he said.

Haynes added data are currently sparse and, as always, safety research must continue both during and after the development process.

"It's very, very important that the trials be allowed to proceed and to carry to their completion, and even after their completion for there to be what's called post-approval surveillance," he said. 

The World Health Organization estimates vaccines prevent 2-3 million deaths each year.

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