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Serious Covid vaccine side effects rare, says Costa Rica’s Health Ministry

May 27, 2021

The Health Ministry says headache, localized pain and a low-grade fever are the most common side effects reported after receiving a Covid-19 vaccine in Costa Rica.

Since December 24, the country’s National Pharmacovigilance Commission has received 3,536 “Events Supposedly Attributable to Vaccination and Immunization” (ESAVI) related to the Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines. This represents adverse events after 0.4% of the total vaccines administered as of the first week of May.

An ESAVI is defined as “any unfavorable, unintended health situation that occurs after vaccination/immunization but that does not necessarily have a causal relationship with the vaccination process or with the vaccine.”

Of the 3,536 ESAVIs, Costa Rican health authorities have identified 14 serious events, all of which occurred after receiving a Pfizer dose. These include four people with multiple comorbidities who died in the days or weeks after receiving the vaccine.

Those four deaths in detail:

  • Two cases were determined as having a “conditional” tie to the vaccine. This means that while the factors that caused the death have not been firmly established, the vaccine is not known to have been a factor.
  • Two cases were classified as “unlikely,” meaning they “do not meet the criteria to establish a causal relationship with the vaccine.” 

Of the 10 remaining special-interest events, the Health Ministry detailed them as follows:

  • Five events that were “probably” related to the vaccine.
  • Two events that were “possibly” related to the vaccine, though the patient had other factors that may have caused it.
  • Three “conditional” cases where pre-existing conditions are believed to have been a causing factor.

Costa Rica has administered more than 1.46 million doses of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines. More than 3,900 people in Costa Rica have died related to Covid-19, and 529 people are in intensive care with Covid-19 as of Wednesday afternoon.

 

 

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