More than 500,000 adverse events reported after COVID vaccines, from temps to neuropathy
As of Sept. 27, 2021 there were 569,294 adverse event reports associated with COVID-19 vaccination in the U.S., according to the federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).
The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook
- Report an adverse event after vaccination online here.
- Read CDC info on COVID-19 vaccine here.
- Read: Exclusive summary: COVID-19 vaccine concerns.
- Watch: CDC disinformation re: studies on COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness in people who have had COVID-19
- studying cases
- facial paralysis
- added warnings
- Guillain-Barre Syndrome
- A case
- Journal of Neurology
- Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and myocarditis.
- study from Israel
- heart inflammation
- new, independent study
- Read the study here
- analysis of data
- J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine and TTS
- which has caused deaths."
- study in JAMA Cardiology
- Read the study here
- blood clots
- cerebral venous sinus thrombosis
- blood clots
- Read: BBC radio news anchor dies of blood clots after COVID vaccine
- new warnings about
- British study
- study from Israel
- study from Israel
The most common disorders reported after COVID-19 vaccinations in the U.S. include temperature-related issues (226,457), skin problems (174,793), and a category that includes movement, muscle, nerve, neuropathy, numbness, and paralysis (164,200).
That's according to an original analysis of the federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).
Next in line are non-specified pain-related issues (139,395), feeling abnormal, tired or weak (139,395), injection site reactions (121,538), headaches (111,549), heart events (79,012), and lung or respiratory problems (77,976).
Abdominal problems (40,415), getting COVID-19 after vaccination (34,589), and blood clots or bleeding, including in the heart and brain (32,023), are also common among the VAERS reports.
So are product issues (29,661) and mood or memory problems (31,720).
As of Sept. 27, 2021 there were 569,294 adverse event reports associated with COVID-19 vaccination in the U.S., with a total of 2,433,730 symptoms reported.
Each symptom reported does not necessarily equal one patient. Adverse event reports often include multiple symptoms for a single patient.
Reporting of illnesses and symptoms that occur after COVID-19 vaccination does not necessarily mean they were caused by the vaccine. The system is designed to collect adverse events that occur after vaccination to uncover any patterns of illnesses that were not captured during vaccine studies.
Reports can be made by doctors, patients or family members and/or acquaintances, or vaccine industry representatives.
Scientists have estimated that adverse events occur at a rate manyfold higher than what is reported in VAERS, since it is assumed that most adverse events are not reported through the tracking system.
However, some observers claim COVID-19 vaccine adverse events are not as likely to be underreported as those associated with other medicine, due to close monitoring and widespread publicity surrounding COVID-19 vaccination.
Approximately 391 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given in the U.S. to 185 million people. It's estimated about 56% of the population is fully vaccinated. This is not believed to include more than one million people who crossed the border illegally so far this year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the benefits of COVID-19 vaccine outweigh the risks for all groups and age categories authorized to receive it.
The following is a summary of health alerts issued in the U.S. or around the world, and how the adverse events reported in the VAERS database fit in. That's followed by a list broken down into 78 groupings of common categories of side effects reported.
Health concerns raised in the U.S. and around the world:
Functional Neurological Disorder
Researchers in the United Kingdom are studying cases of Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) in women in their 30s who became ill after receiving COVID-19 vaccines. FND Symptoms can include limb weakness, paralysis, tremor, spasms, problems walking, speech problems, tingling, vision loss, seizures, fatigue, anxiety, chronic pain, memory symptoms, and blackouts.
An analysis of the VAERS database shows hundreds of thousands of reports of such symptoms.
Lymphadenopathy: 16,858 reports
Earlier this month, the Pfizer COVID-19 mRNA vaccine was found to be associated with an increased risk of lymphadenopathy, swelling or inflammation of lymph nodes according to a real-world case-control study from Israel.
Facial Paralysis: 5,273 reports
An analysis in Hong Kong showed risk of Bell's palsy is higher with CoronaVac (Sinovac Biotech) shot, a vaccine formulation not currently used in the U.S. Bell's palsy is facial paralysis, muscle twitching, or weakness. It may include change in taste and pain around the ear, increased sensitivity to sound known as hyperacusis.
Guillain-Barre Syndrome Paralysis: 696 reports
In July, the FDA added warnings about Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) paralysis in people who got the Johnson and Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. GBS is an autoimmune disorder that damages nerve cells, causing muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis. One in 20 cases is fatal.
The European Union has also reported GBS as a possible side effect from Johnson and Johnson's vaccine. In the U.K. and India, scientists have also linked Guillain-Barre syndrome to the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is not used in the U.S. A case has also been reported in a patient who got the Pfizer vaccine.
According to CDC, most cases have been reported about two weeks after vaccination in men, many 50 years and older.
A study in Journal of Neurology examined possible links between the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and acute Central Nervous System (CNS) demyelination, including Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Demyelination including Multiple Sclerosis (MS): More than 650 reports
Demyelinating diseases damage the protective covering surrounding nerve fibers in the brain, optic nerves and spinal cord, causing neurological problems. Ages ranged from 24 to 64 years old. Four patients were ultimately diagnosed with exacerbation of their stable MS. Two were diagnosed with new cases of MS. One was diagnosed with neuromyelitis optica.
An analysis of the VAERS database shows more than 650 related reports, including MS.
Myocarditis, Pericarditis, Endocarditis: 2,810 reports
According to CDC, it is investigating reports of the heart disorders myocarditis and pericarditis after COVID-19 vaccine to see if there is a relationship.
The Pfizer COVID-19 mRNA vaccine was found to triple the risk of myocarditis, according to a real-world case-control study from Israel, which found "vaccination had a strong association with an increased risk of myocarditis."
The FDA added a warning to Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines about risk of heart inflammation.
As of June of 2021, CDC said more than 1,200 cases of heart inflammation (myocarditis or pericarditis) in young people had been reported after Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccination.
- More than half were after the second dose.
- Most of the injuries are in males under age 30.
However, in August, a new, independent study of medical records found the incidences of myocarditis and pericarditis are more than five times more common than CDC reported.
The Israeli Ministry of Health announced it's monitoring for heart inflammation after Pfizer's vaccine due to reports of problems. An Aug. 10 study in JAMA Cardiology confirms the Pfizer vaccine's previously identified myocarditis (heart inflammation) risk in young boys.
A study of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines published in September finds teenage boys are six times more likely to suffer heart issues from COVID-19 vaccination than from COVID.
Breakthrough COVID cases (lack of immunity): 34,589
Concerns about waning immunity heightened in June 2021 when Israel announced that about half of the adults infected with COVID-19 during its outbreak in the June 2021 time period were fully vaccinated. The fully vaccinated individuals had received the Pfizer shots.
In early September, an analysis of data in Israel showed almost 60% of those hospitalized for COVID were fully vaccinated. "This is a very clear warning sign for the rest of the world," said Ran Balicer, CIO at Clalit Health Services, Israel's largest health maintenance organization. "If it can happen here, it can probably happen anywhere."
With evidence of seriously waning immunity at the five- to six-month mark, and thousands of fully vaccinated patients hospitalized with COVID-19 or dying from the virus, CDC is now recommending a third "booster" shot in some patients.
The VAERS database shows 34,589 reports of COVID-19 after vaccination as well as COVID-19 pneumonia, suspected cases, and complications.
Blood Clots and Disorders: More than 32,000 reports
In late June, the first case of a blood clot disorder called "thrombosis with thrombocytopenia" after an RNA double-dose vaccine was reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The case was that of a 65-year-old man who developed symptoms ten days after his second dose of the Moderna vaccine.
According to the CDC, "Recent reports indicate a plausible causal relationship between the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine and TTS, a rare and serious adverse event — blood clots with low platelets — which has caused deaths."
The CDC and FDA say they identified 47 confirmed reports of people who "got the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine and later developed TTS. Women younger than 50 years old especially should be aware of the rare but increased risk of this adverse event." The agencies also confirmed two cases after Moderna's vaccine but say they do not believe there is a link.
An Aug. 10 study in JAMA Cardiology urged caution in giving COVID-19 vaccine to certain high-risk patients due to the vaccine link to thrombocytopenia with thrombosis. "One of the devastating manifestations of this syndrome, termed vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT), is cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST)," say the study authors. The link involves the AstraZeneca/Oxford and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, according to the study.
An editorial published in the Journal of the American Medical Association recommended women under age 50 avoid the Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to concerns about blood clots. The recommendation discussed 12 case reports of a blood disorder known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) with thrombocytopenia following the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, not used in the U.S., has been linked to a dangerous disorder involving blood clots with low blood platelets. On April 7, 2021, the European Medicines Agency says it made the association after it analyzed 62 cases of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis and 24 cases of splanchnic vein thrombosis reported in the EU drug safety database (EudraVigilance) as of March 22, 2021; 18 of which were fatal.
The Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine was temporarily removed from the market.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was allowed back on the market April 27, 2021 with new warnings about the disorder.
Many countries have restricted vaccines in people under age 65, 60 or 50 due to reports of blood clots in young people. Some countries have halted the Astra Zeneca or Johnson & Johnson shots due to blood clot concerns.
Menstrual-related: 10,318 reports
All brands of COVID-19 vaccines are associated with changes in menstrual cycles of women, according to a British study in September. The more-than-10,000 reports of menstrual issues in the VAERS database includes periods that are abnormally heavy, painful, irregular, short or absent.
"Reports of death after COVID-19 vaccination are rare," according to the CDC.
"Reports of adverse events to VAERS following vaccination, including deaths, do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem," the national public health agency emphasizes. "A review of available clinical information, including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records, has not established a causal link to COVID-19 vaccines."
Pregnancy-related: 1,844 reports
CDC says that COVID-19 vaccines are safe for pregnant women and their unborn children. There are more than 1,800 reports of pregnancy-related problems in the VAERS database.
Herpes-related: 6,339 reports
The Pfizer COVID-19 mRNA vaccine was found to be associated with an increased risk of herpes zoster infection, according to a real-world case-control study from Israel.
Anaphylactic reaction or shock: 1,803 reports
According to the CDC, "anaphylaxis after COVID-19 vaccination is rare and has occurred in approximately 2 to 5 people per million vaccinated in the United States."
Appendicitis, perforated, appendectomy: 926 reports
The Pfizer COVID-19 mRNA vaccine was found to be associated with increased risk of appendicitis, according to a real-world case-control study from Israel.