Study: COVID-19 vaccines linked to small increase in risk for heart, brain disorders

Researchers looked for 13 “adverse events of special interest” that occurred up to 42 days after the Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines were administered.

Results of a recent peer-reviewed study on COVID-19 vaccines show a slight increase in risks for certain adverse effects up to a month and a half after taking the vaccine.

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Researchers looked for 13 “adverse events of special interest” that occurred up to 42 days after the Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines were administered.

The adverse events the scientists looked for included Guillain-Barré syndrome, Bell’s palsy, convulsions, myocarditis and pericarditis.

Researchers conducting the study, which was published in the journal Vaccine, looked at the medical records of nearly 100 million people vaccinated across eight countries.

Results of the study showed a “significant increase” in cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome among those who received the AstraZeneca vaccine within 42 days of it being administered, and instances of acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), an inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, in those who got their first dose of Moderna’s vaccine, according to the study.

Rare cases of myocarditis, or an inflammation of the heart, were identified in the first, second and third doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s and Moderna’s mRNA vaccines.

The highest rate for myocarditis — 6.1 times more than expected — was seen after the second Moderna dose.

Those conducting the study stressed that the risks of developing the conditions after having COVID-19 greatly outweigh the risks of experiencing the conditions because you get vaccinated.

“The odds of all of these adverse events is still much, much higher when infected with SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), so getting vaccinated is still by far the safer choice,” CEO of biotechnology company Centivaix Jacob Glanville, who is not involved in the study, told Forbes.

There have been 13.5 billion COVID-19 vaccines administered worldwide since the start of the pandemic, according to Our World in Data.

According to Forbes, the Global COVID Vaccine Safety project, which conducted the study, is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services. Several of the authors received financial support from or have relationships with government agencies, including the CDC, the New Zealand Ministry of Health and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, which they disclosed as potential conflicts of interest in reporting the study’s results.