ASTRAZENECA, now referred to as Vaxzevria by the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA), has been associated with cases of transverse myelitis – i.e. inflammation of the spinal cord.
As of Wednesday, January 26, transverse myelitis has officially been added to the “warnings and precautions [of] neurological events” section given to healthcare professionals. The MHRA has assured that cases are “extremely rare” but the reaction can lead to: muscle weakness, localised or radiating back pain, and bladder issues. Furthermore, transverse myelitis can lead to bowel symptoms and changes in sensations.
Conclusions: This lack of clear benefit should cause governments to rethink their vaccination policy.
The present assessment raises the question whether it would be necessary to rethink policies and use COVID-19 vaccines more sparingly and with some discretion only in those that are willing to accept the risk because they feel more at risk from the true infection than the mock infection. Perhaps it might be necessary to dampen the enthusiasm by sober facts? In our view, the EMA and national authorities should instigate a safety review into the safety database of COVID-19 vaccines and governments should carefully consider their policies in light of these data. Ideally, independent scientists should carry out thorough case reviews of the very severe cases, so that there can be evidence-based recommendations on who is likely to benefit from a SARS-CoV2 vaccination and who is in danger of suffering from side effects. Currently, our estimates show that we have to accept four fatal and 16 serious side effects per 100,000 vaccinations in order to save the lives of 2–11 individuals per 100,000 vaccinations, placing risks and benefits on the same order of magnitude.