Individuals interact with vaccines in different ways. Newly authorized coronavirus vaccines from Pfizer (New York Stock Exchange: PFE) And the modern (Nasdaq: flexible) Not an exception. Late clinical studies of both vaccines revealed that some participants developed the same medical condition. In this Motley Full Life Video recorded December 16, 2020, Chief Healthcare Officer and Cannabis Corinne Cardina and Fool.com writer Keith Spets discuss whether Americans should be concerned about potential side effects similar to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
Corinne Cardina: Turning now to a couple of different headlines that have come out, there appears to be some concern about a negative effect called Bell’s palsy. Is this a side effect that could really affect public opinion of this vaccine? What do we need to know about what this is and what does it mean?
Keith Speets: Yeah. I think Pfizer and everyone hopes it won’t have a negative impact on public opinion because basically, what is Bell’s paralysis, Corinne, is muscle weakness or paralysis on one side of a person’s face and it can be frightening at first. Some people may think they have had a stroke because it is similar to a stroke related symptom where you have this paralysis on one side.
But it is actually a fairly benign condition. It can be uncomfortable. My wife had already had it for several years, and it was upsetting but not too problematic.
I tried to make things better, Corinne, although I think I didn’t succeed because I told her to look on the bright side: It made it easier for her to show mixed feelings about things because she could smile with half of her face and frown with the other half. And you didn’t think that was a space aspect. But it is an annoying and annoying condition but it is not something to worry about much and it usually resolves on its own within a few weeks or months.
The reason this happened is that Bell’s palsy occurred in participants in both studies, with the Pfizer and Moderna study. I think in the Pfizer study there were four people who, all of whom received the vaccine, had Bell’s palsy. Then in the late Moderna study, four people also developed Bell’s palsy but three of them were in the vaccine group and one in the placebo group.
Now, in both studies, a causal relationship has not been established. There was no strong and serious reason to believe that the vaccines in either study actually caused Bell’s palsy. But they can’t rule it out, it just isn’t enough to rule it out completely.
If you had taken exactly the same number of people in these studies off the street in a major city in the United States, there would have been more people with Bell’s palsy than what we saw in these two studies. So I think that’s a little bit comforting, the rates that happened were actually slightly lower than what we’ve seen in the general population.
Personally, I think this is something they will watch. I think you’ll see the committee talking about that tomorrow. But I don’t think anything will prevent Moderna’s vaccine from obtaining an Emergency Use Permit, and at this point, I don’t think it’s something that Americans should worry about. The numbers are not there to make this a serious concern.
Corinne Cardina: Hassan. This is a great insight. By thinking more about side effects, is there a risk that this information will spread as rare adverse events are reported when the public begins receiving the vaccination? I think the titles of Bell’s palsy were an example. Should companies use their PR power to assure Americans this is safe?
Keith Speets: at all. I think it’s a human tendency to focus on negativity even when negativity outweighs positivity. I think you’ll likely see that on social media. I think some people are generally resistant to vaccines, and I think they will take advantage of whatever negative they can and maybe lose those negatives disproportionately.
So I think it’s very important that companies, government, state, and local governments really try to spread the word to educate people about what they really care about, and what are not really of concern.
There are some things that could happen. There are very common adverse effects with these vaccines. You could have a fever, you could get tired, you could have pain or tenderness at the injection site. These are common types of things that people should be really prepared to anticipate and not worry if you get a fever after getting vaccinated, they are common.
But it is not only common with the COVID vaccines, it is common with almost any type of vaccine. So I think the public needs to be educated about these things.
I spoke with Dr. Leo Nisola recently and that was one of the things he does. I think one of his biggest fears was the possibility of misinformation spreading. I think it’s really important for the real story to come out because we really want vaccination rates to be as high as possible to stop this thing, to end this pandemic.
Corinne Cardina: at all. We will continue to shatter those myths because they come here.