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Do the Benefits of COVID Vaccines Outweigh the Risks? 

By  Dr. Mike Hansen

Rarely there are serious adverse effects of the covid vaccine. You probably have heard of the Miami doctor who died shortly after getting the Pfizer vaccine. Since that video, I’ve learned some new things about that case in an autopsy report, which I’ll talk about in my next video. But for this video, I’m going to look at the overall benefits vs. risks of the COVID vaccines – Pfizer and Moderna and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The mRNA vaccines contain a tiny piece of mRNA that tells the body’s cells to make some proteins, in this case, antigens. These antigens then stimulate the immune system to make antibodies that specifically become ready to attack the antigens of the virus. So these mRNA vaccines make the immune system get to work in a particular, targeted manner. On the contrary, when a virus infects you, it’s like a bomb goes off within the immune system. Things are chaotic and messy. And this is why immunological processes like Guiilan Barre syndrome, myocarditis, and immune thrombocytopenia are more likely to occur after a viral infection and much less likely to occur after a vaccine.

Benefits of COVID Vaccines

The vaccines can also cause other immunologic processes, such as allergic reactions. Sometimes the allergic reaction is so bad that it causes anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening condition. So what are the odds of developing a serious adverse event after COVID vaccination, such as GBS or Myocarditis? And how often have people died as a result of the vaccine? Let’s take a closer look, and we’ll start with anaphylaxis.

From December 14, 2020, through January 18, 2021, a total of 9,943,247 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 7,581,429 doses of the Moderna vaccine were administered in the US. The CDC identified 66 case reports of anaphylaxis. 47 were after Pfizer, which gives a reporting rate of 4.7 cases/million doses administered. For Moderna, there are 19 cases, which gives a reporting rate of 2.5 cases/million doses given. Of all of these cases of anaphylaxis, the number of deaths was 0.

So the chances of getting anaphylaxis from the COVID vaccine are about the same as the chances of you getting struck by lightning over the next year. And the chances of dying from a lightning strike are way higher than the chances of dying from anaphylaxis from the vaccine.

As of July 22, 2021, 187 million people in the US received at least 1 dose of the COVID vaccine. Close monitoring of safety surveillance has demonstrated that serious adverse events after COVID vaccination are very rare. One medical condition that has been reported in people shortly after they received the vaccine is something called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), or VITT, meaning vaccine-induced thrombosis and thrombocytopenia…it’s a rare syndrome in which people have blood clots and low platelet levels.

As of June 30, 2021, 12.6 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been given in the US, and there have been 38 cases of TTS within 15 days of getting the J&J vaccine. So about 3 cases per million doses were given. Of the 38 cases of TTS, four died. The group with the highest rate was that of females aged 30–49, in which there were about 9 cases per million vaccine doses….And something that I would want to know is how many of these women were on birth control because that in itself is a risk factor for blood blots.

Another condition is Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare autoimmune neurologic disorder characterized by weakness and sometimes paralysis. Some cases have been reported after the J&J vaccine. Within VAERS, 100 reports of GBS after the J&J vaccine were received from February 27–June 30, 2021. So the GBS reporting rate was 7.8 cases per million vaccine doses administered. Among subgroups based on sex and age, the reporting rate to VAERS was highest among males aged 50–64 years, with 15.6 cases per million Janssen COVID vaccine doses administered. Of all the 100 cases of GBS, one of them died.

And then there is Myocarditis, meaning heart inflammation, which has been some cases after the mRNA vaccines, mostly in young males. As of June 30, 141 million second doses of mRNA vaccine have been given to 18 and older. Within VAERS, there were 497 reports of myocarditis after the second dose. So 3.5 cases per million-second doses. In the subgroup analyses, the reporting rate was highest among males aged 18–29, 24 cases per million. There were no confirmed myocarditis-associated deaths.

Doctor Mike Hansen, MD
Internal Medicine | Pulmonary Disease | Critical Care Medicine

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