The company claims its shot is ‘90% effective’ and will be available to the public soon, but serious questions about the vaccine’s safety remain

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Mere days after Pfizer announced its new “90% effective” coronavirus vaccine, reports have emerged about “severe” side effects volunteers for the vaccine trial experienced, including fevers and headaches.

According to the British Daily Mail, Carrie, one of the 43,538 participants in Pfizer’s vaccine trial, “said she suffered a headache, fever and aches all over her body, comparable to the flu jab, with the first one. But after the second these became ‘more severe.’”

The Pfizer vaccine will be administered in two doses three weeks apart.

Glenn Deshields, another participant, “said he suffered side effects not dissimilar to a ‘severe hangover.’” The man from Texas said he believes “he received the vaccine because when he had an antibody test with doctors it came back positive.”

“Bryan, 42, an engineer from Georgia, believes he was one of the individuals that did not receive the vaccine,” but a placebo. “He felt no immune response to the jabs, he said, and after having two shots he contracted [COVID-19] after his daughter caught it last month.”

A placebo is a shot not containing the vaccine, given to half of the participants in the trial to show if the vaccine actually works.

Stanley Wang from Los Angeles also thought he received a placebo, saying “he went for his first injection on August 31 and did not experience any pain from the jab nor coronavirus symptoms.”

Wang added that side effects experienced by other participants “included fever and migraines, and another complained of having a reaction ‘similar to having a hangover.’” It is unclear whether Wang was merely referring to the Daily Mail report, or to his own conversations with participants in the trial.

Pfizer didn’t mention any of the side effects experienced by participants in the vaccine trial.

The New York Times emphasized on Monday, “The data released by Pfizer … was delivered in a news release, not a peer-reviewed medical journal. It is not conclusive evidence that the vaccine is safe and effective, and the initial finding of more than 90 percent efficacy could change as the trial goes on.”

In fact, Pfizer’s press release mentioned 43,538 participants enrolled in the study, with only “94 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in trial participants.” This means that only 0.2 percent of participants were tested positive for the coronavirus.

As only 94 participants were tested positive, it also appears difficult to generalize the vaccine is “more than 90% effective,” since some people might have been exposed to the virus more frequently, or for a longer time.

Pfizer’s press release did not explain if participants were wearing masks, practicing so-called social distancing, or staying at home, for the most part.

The pharmaceutical company cautioned that it will continue “to accumulate safety data,” estimating “that a median of two months of safety data following the second (and final) dose of the vaccine candidate — the amount of safety data specified by the FDA in its guidance for potential Emergency Use Authorization — will be available by the third week of November.”

“Additionally, participants will continue to be monitored for long-term protection and safety for an additional two years after their second dose,” the press release pointed out, implying that side effects could still occur, and that the vaccine could lose its alleged efficacy.

In a July debate, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., the nephew of John F. Kennedy and an environmental attorney, referred to Pfizer as one of several vaccine producers with a record of incurring criminal penalties for their products.

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