WHO Subcommittee finds influenza-like illness with COVID-19 vaccines
For weeks now many vaccinated people have been complaining about flu-like symptoms after receiving the vaccination. Now, the World Health Organization (WHO) just confirmed for the first time that “symptoms of an influenza-like illness may be expected as immune responses following vaccinations in general.”
WHO also warned that “The potential for short-term adverse events following vaccination should be considered when planning the timing of vaccination for healthcare teams or other workers covering a specific service area.”
In an announcement on its website, the Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) COVID-19 Subcommittee met virtually on Thursday, 25 February 2021, to review available information and data on reports of influenza-like illness in health-care workers who had received COVID-19 vaccines. These symptoms have been reported in several countries.
The Subcommittee reviewed clinical trial data and a summary of reports of influenza-like illness following vaccination with COVID-19 vaccines in the WHO Global Individual Case Safety Reports database (VigiBase).
The Subcommittee noted that similar symptoms of influenza-like illness had also been reported in the first few days following vaccination with COVID-19 vaccines in clinical trials. These included headache, fatigue, muscle aches, feverishness and chills. Most symptoms were mild to moderate and resolved within a few days. These expected side effects from vaccination were more common in younger vaccine recipients (under the age of 55 years) compared with older people.
Here is how the WHO Subcommittee describes its conclusion:
“Based on a careful scientific review of the information made available, the Subcommittee came to the following conclusions:
- Symptoms of an influenza-like illness may be expected as immune responses following vaccinations in general.
- The current reports with the COVID-19 vaccines are consistent with the expected side-effect profile of these vaccines, all of which were well tolerated.
In view of this, the committee considers that the benefit-risk balance of the COVID-19 vaccines (for which reports of the influenza-like reactions are available to date) remains favorable and does not suggest any revision, at present, to the recommendations around the safety of these vaccines.”
The committee recommends that people who are vaccinated be informed, prior to vaccination, of the potential for influenza-like symptoms to occur after receipt of COVID-19 vaccines. Such symptoms should be managed accordingly, with medical advice sought if required. The occurrence of transient symptoms such as headache, fever, and muscle aches after the first dose of these vaccines should not prevent the administration of the second dose.