Fever, headaches, digestive disorders, fatigue, feeling unwell, vomiting, muscle or joint pain… The list of adverse effects linked to Covid vaccines is long. But most of these reactions are neither serious nor lasting. ” These are often mild flu-like symptoms, as seen with other vaccines. explains Morgane Bomsel, research director at CNRS. This passes after a day or even half a day. “
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Prejudiceacceptable in view of the benefits, considers the immunologist: “The benefit is first of all individual, since vaccination makes it possible to avoid serious forms of the disease and therefore hospitalization. It is also social, since by reducing the circulation of the virus and avoiding saturation in hospitals, vaccination will allow us, in the long term, to remove the masks and resume a normal life ”.
The majority of the effects “are expected and not serious”
As for more serious reactions, such as thrombosis or myocarditis, they are “Excessively rare and only concern a few people out of millions of vaccinated (3 billion doses had been injected on June 30, Editor’s note) “, indicatedMorgane Bomsel. This is what the National Medicines Safety Agency (ANSM) reports in its latest summary on monitoring the adverse effects of Covid vaccines, posted online on July 16. Of the 59,165,000 injections performed in France since the start of vaccination, 61,822 cases of adverse effects have been reported, the majority of which “ are expected and not serious ”, reports the agency.
Among the recent serious events, 22 cases of rheumatoid arthritis after injection of Pfizer’s vaccine, including “15 occurred in patients with a history”. Three cases of this pathology have also been reported with the Moderna vaccine, which is also monitored for its possible role in the appearance of heart problems (myocarditis and pericarditis). Thus, since the start of follow-up, 7 cases of myocarditis and 13 cases of pericarditis have been notified, the majority of patients having since recovered. The Janssen vaccine is potentially responsible for 4 cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome. “The evolution is favorable for 3 patients and stable for one patient”, specifies the ANSM.
The risks of the vaccine and the disease are “beyond measure”
” We can see that these undesirable effects are much rarer than the probability of catching the Covid itself, it is beyond measure ”, judge the doctor Jérôme Marty, who puts forward a “Unprecedented transparency”. “We benefit from a very precise pharmacovigilance system, allowing day-to-day feedback all over the world”, reassures this general practitioner, president of the union of the French Union for Free Medicine (UFML).
For Professor Vassili Soumelis, immunologist at the Saint-Louis Research Institute, AP-HP and the University of Paris, there is therefore no reason to wait. ” When you buy a computer, you know that a year from now it might be obsolete. But at the moment, you need it, so you choose the one that seems best to you, by being informed as well as possible about its characteristics. It’s the same in medicine, he compares: we decide what is best for the patient taking into account the most up-to-date knowledge. “
No side effects beyond three months
Does this mean that, in a few months or a few years, unsuspected side effects could appear, as opponents of vaccination often suggest? “Never, in the history of vaccines, have we seen side effects beyond three months after the injection”, answers Dr. Marty.
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This is not the case for symptoms linked to Covid which, for their part, can persist over time. “The vaccine also protects against that”, points out Morgane Bomstel, while one in ten patients suffers from long Covid, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). “This disease has many neurological forms and in some cases leads to organic depressions, underlines Doctor Jérôme Marty. If there is something that we lack perspective on that we should be worried about, this is it. “