• Jiji, Staff report

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A health ministry panel said Friday that it is difficult to make a simple comparison between the rate of anaphylaxis among people who received coronavirus vaccines in Japan and the rates in the United States and Europe.

The panel, which is investigating possible links between coronavirus vaccinations and side effects, examined 17 suspected cases of anaphylaxis, a strong allergic reaction, among people who received the shots by Tuesday and found that only seven of them met the global standards for anaphylaxis.

Noting that no serious safety concerns have been recognized for the vaccine developed by U.S. drug giant Pfizer Inc., the panel confirmed that Japan will continue to use it. The Pfizer shot is currently the only vaccine used in the country’s coronavirus inoculation program, which started last month.

A health care worker receives a second shot of the COVID-19 vaccine at Tokyo Medical Center in Meguro Ward on Thursday. | POOL / VIA KYODO
A health care worker receives a second shot of the COVID-19 vaccine at Tokyo Medical Center in Meguro Ward on Thursday. | POOL / VIA KYODO

According to the health ministry, the number of anaphylaxis cases per million inoculations stands at 204 in Japan, compared to five in the United States and 18 in Britain.

In Japan, a woman in her 60s who received a vaccine died early this month. The panel said that it is impossible at the moment to determine a causal relationship between her death and the vaccination. The cause of her death is believed to be subarachnoid hemorrhage.

The panel also reported an analysis of health records of some 20,000 medical workers who were the first in line to take the vaccine.

Of them, 92.4% experienced pain while they were still at the inoculation site, compared with a rate of 43.8% for a 2009 study of about 22,000 people who received an influenza vaccine. Headaches were suffered by 21.3% of those who received a COVID-19 vaccine, while 3.3% had fevers of 37.5 degrees Celsius or higher. There were no reports of anaphylaxis.

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