Report to doctors of side effects

Panelists at the virtual "Explain the Science" discussion hosted by the Fiji National University - WHO PCV Expert Advisory group Prof Fiona Russell is on top right. Picture: SCREENGRAB

While the AstraZeneca vaccine produced a rare side effect causing bleeding and blood clots, people needed to report to their doctors if they had severe headache, blurred vision and shortness of breath.

Speaking during a virtual discussion titled “Explain the Science”, epidemiologist and pediatrician Professor Fiona Russell said these rare side effects would happen mostly after the first jab.

Prof Russell said it was extremely rare to have such side effects after the second jab.

“Within four to 30 days, if you get a severe headache, severe persistent blurred vision, shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling, persistent abdominal pain, skin bruising or little brown spots in the vaccination site, it is important to see the doctors,” she said.

“Once this is reported, doctors can then carry out tests and investigations to verify these side effects.

“As a result, treatment can then be offered which is available in Fiji.”

Responding to questions raised to her during the discussion, Prof Russell also clarified that a second dosage of the AstraZeneca was needed to boost protection.

“A second dose means a longer term protection, from the initial 71 per cent in the first dose to the 92 per cent in the second dose.

“When you look at infection, we know that after a person is protected in the first dose but it doubles in the second dose.

“So it is important to indicate that a second dosage may prevent transmission ,it is really critical.”

Prof Russell is a translation researcher and member of the WHO pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV ) expert advisory group.

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