ABC expert finally acknowledges 'rare' Covid-19 vaccine side effects

Dr Norman Swan acknowledges 'unexpected' side effects of Covid vaccines, but compares them to winning the lotto multiple times.

ABC expert finally acknowledges 'rare' Covid-19 vaccine side effects
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ABC health expert Norman Swan has acknowledged the presence of 'unexpected' side effects associated with Covid-19 vaccines, drawing attention to the findings of the largest-ever study on adverse reactions published recently.

Speaking to ABC interviewer Jeremy Fernandez, Swan highlighted the study's revelation of side effects that were not anticipated, describing them as a concerning signal.

But while discussing the study's findings, Swan claimed side effects among the 99 million recipients of Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca shots were 'rare'.

Specifically, he pointed out Guillain-Barre syndrome as a notable side effect of the AstraZeneca vaccine, describing it as a 'serious but temporary paralysis' affecting the nervous system.

Furthermore, Swan highlighted acute disseminated encephalomyelitis as an unexpected side effect of the Moderna vaccine, particularly concerning due to its occurrence in older age groups. Despite acknowledging its severity, he again underscored its rarity, likening its probability to winning a major lottery multiple times.

Critically, Swan addressed the applicability of the study's findings to Australians, noting the inclusion of data from Australia and similar countries such as Canada.

However, his remarks were met with skepticism regarding the overall safety of Covid vaccines, reflecting his previous reservations despite advocating for vaccination.

The study, conducted by an international coalition of vaccine experts, confirmed associations between Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca shots and higher risks of certain medical conditions, including Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Despite identifying potential concerns, the team emphasised the overall 'low absolute risk' of developing these conditions in light of the vast number of vaccine doses administered globally.

Published in the journal Vaccine, the study underscores the importance of ongoing research and vigilance in monitoring vaccine safety amid the global vaccination campaign.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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