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Should we worry about a report Pfizer vax can cause a stroke?

by Jericho Zafra

PFIZER vax: Stroke or a hoax?

Can a shot of Pfizer’s anti-COVID-19 vaccine cause a stroke?

The Department of Health reminded the public not to fear getting vaccinated after recent reports from the United States showed that the updated Pfizer vaccine could be linked to stroke in older adults.

In a media forum, DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire said there was no definitive finding yet that the American vaccine could cause a stroke.

“Dito po sa study na lumabas na ito yung totality niya does not really conclude and indicate na pag ikaw ay binigyan ng bivalent, talagang magkakaroon ka ng stroke, “ she said.

Recently, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Food and Drug Administration revealed that a CDC vaccine database had revealed a possible safety hazard in which individuals 65 and older were more likely to suffer an ischemic stroke 21 days after receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech bivalent shot, compared to days 22-44.

Fear not,  but the risk would always be there?

Reacting to the study, Vergeire said: “Ang sinabi lang diyan sa study na yan, the risk would be there, and if we go back to the previous vaccines that we have used, yun pong monovalent vaccines marami rin pong ganitong reactions na naire-report.”

The DOH has said even the previous vaccines show risks of strokes, heart problems, and embolism or a blot clot in an artery in the lung. 

But even the CDC also said that this does not indicate that getting a jab of the updated Pfizer vaccine increases the risk of ischemic stroke.

“The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) managed by CDC, and FDA has not seen an increase in reporting of ischemic strokes following the updated (bivalent) vaccine,” the CDC said in its report.

Vergeire noted that the DOH is taking the situation with a “grain of salt,” but they will still monitor the recipients of the updated Pfizer vaccine once it becomes available to the public.

“Ito pong mga lumalabas na ganito we take it with a grain of salt, of course it is considered, we will monitor properly ito pong mag babakunahan natin kung sakali na dumating na yung bivalent dito sa atin,” she said.

“Pero hindi po dapat ito maging balakid para matanggap ng ating mga kababayan ang kinakailangan nilang mga bakuna para maprevent natin ang severe and critical complications of COVID-19,” she said.

She said that the DOH is not inoculating bivalent vaccines as the government is still negotiating with vaccine providers regarding the terms and the processes concerning the purchase.

What is an ischemic stroke?

The CDC said that the majority of strokes occurring are ischemic strokes, which happen when blood clots or other harmful particles block the brain’s blood vessels.

What is a bivalent vaccine?

In a report from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the bivalent booster is the most recent version of the COVID-19 vaccine. In order to provide the best protection against severe illness and perhaps infection, it combines the virus’ original vaccine strain with a strain obtained from the BA.5 omicron form, which is currently prevalent in the United States.

COVID-19 vaccination update

The latest tally from the DOH showed that 166,022,159 had been administered already. Of the total doses, 73,803,831 individuals have completed their primary doses, while 21,241,707 have received booster shots.

In a separate advisory, the health department has encouraged the public, especially kids aged 5-17, to get their booster shots done. 



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