Although there is more talk about the adverse effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine, there is no data to indicate that it causes more problems than the rest.

A police officer receives the AstraZeneca vaccine in the Wanda Metropolitano.

Ana (not her real name) is teacher at an institute in Madrid and received the vaccine against Covid-19 last Monday morning. At 43 years old and with no underlying pathology, Ana was touched AstraZeneca’s and she is very happy to have received it.

For this reason, it is difficult for him to publicly tell EL ESPAÑOL – and he prefers that his name not be known – that the first dose of the drug caused him a adverse reaction you did not expect and that he made him miss work the day after being vaccinated, the day he stayed at home, with discomfort, a fever of 38 ° C and muscle pain, something similar to the flu that was suffered before the pandemic.

Everything was forgotten two days after the puncture. Ana returned to her classes, with a slight discomfort in the place of the puncture and a great joy of knowing that you are partially immunized of a disease that has officially killed 70,000 people in Spain.

Ana’s case is not unique. There are many testimonies that can be seen on Twitter and other social networks about the adverse effects of the vaccine and, curiously, the one that is most talked about is the AstraZeneca, the vaccine of profes, the policemen and the young people.

But, does this mean that this vaccine produces more adverse effects than the other two approved in Spain? Everything indicates that the answer is no.

This time, the official data does not help. Despite the fact that the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS) regularly publishes pharmacovigilance reports on vaccines against Covid-19, the last one dates from February 9 and does not yet include data on the AstraZeneca vaccine. we will have to wait for the third.

The vice president of the Spanish Vaccination Association, Fernando Moraga-Llop, believes that there is three factors behind this runrún which associates the Anglo-Swedish company’s vaccine with worse side effects.

But, first, a clarification: “In general terms, it has the same side effects as the other two vaccines already approved, and they are very similar to those that produce vaccines already used, such as the flu vaccine ”. And he goes on to describe them: on a regular basis, local discomfort at the injection site, with slight swelling in that area of ​​the arm and, less and less frequently, headache, muscle aches, fever or fever sensation, joint pain and sickness.

The first thing that contributes, according to Moraga-Llop, to more talk about this associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine is that it is administered to younger people, specifically to people under 55 years of age. “Vaccines are more reactive in pediatric age and in young adults than in the elderly ”, he comments.

The reason is that in people over 65 years of age there is a phenomenon known as immunosenescence, an aging of the immune system that makes them react less to foreign organisms which is, after all, what a vaccine is.

The second factor, that Moraga-Llop is careful when quantifying – he insists that it cannot be done – is that “it may” be that people who have already passed Covid-19 in an asymptomatic or mild way are being vaccinated. “It is known that in these profiles there are more side effects, it is one of the reasons why it is recommended to wait six months to get vaccinated for those who have already become ill.”

But of course, there are asymptomatic people who may not have realized that they were infected or even who have not found out about the measure established by Health which, after all, is just a recommendation.

The third factor is that which is difficult to recognize but which is undoubted: the AstraZeneca vaccine has a worse reputation than the other two already approved in Spain. “It’s a shame, but it has gotten off on the wrong foot,” says Moraga-Llop, who believes that the Ministry of Health “has not given a clear message,” especially regarding the authorization of the vaccine only to people under 56 years old.

There is no limitation in the technical data sheet of the vaccine. and neither the European Union, nor the WHO nor the United Kingdom have put it. In addition, in Spain the limit of 65 years set in other countries has been lowered to 55, which also implies logistical problems, such as not vaccinating the teachers who are most at risk, those who are over that age and are not yet retired ”.

“This age message has been interpreted as a security problem,” explains Moraga-Llop, who also points out that there is already a preprint -a study not yet peer-reviewed- showing that the vaccine is highly effective in people over 70 years of age.

Neither has the Health notice that it is possible to improve the perception of the side effects of the vaccine has helped take a paracetamol before immunization, something that has been interpreted as a recommendation.

The vice president of the Spanish Association of Vaccination believes that this is because right in that vaccine -and not in the rest- it has been proven that taking this drug does not give problems. It was done in a study published in The Lancet long before approval. Perhaps if this parameter had been analyzed in the other two, the recommendation It would be extensible, but it is not something that can be known without trials involved.

In short, the vaccine for young people is safe, causes the same adverse effects as the rest and, above all, protects against Covid-19. The rest should be noise.