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Second thoughts about the second dose?

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Nicola Swanborough

Second thoughts about the second dose?

We know from calls to our Helpline, and through conversation on our social media platforms, that some people are sharing concerns about having their second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

We have heard from people who have reported seizures following the first dose and who are understandably concerned about having a second dose.

Additionally, there have been a number of seizure-related incidents reported through the MHRA’s Yellow Card scheme. This is a mechanism for reporting suspected adverse reactions to the vaccine, although it does not automatically mean that the reaction was caused by the vaccine.

Lower risk than the virus

Our Medical Director, Professor Ley Sander, is confident, however, that the Covid-19 vaccination is safe and offers a lower risk to your health than a seizure caused by the virus, or the virus itself.

“The benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the risks,” said Professor Sander. “I and my colleagues are constantly monitoring people’s experiences of the vaccination and any reported side effects around their seizures. 

“I have looked carefully at the figures reported through the Yellow Card. I would be the first to be jumping up and down if I had any cause for concern because I would obviously want to be sharing new information and advice with the people I see in clinic.

“I am very confident in encouraging all my patients to go ahead with the second dose of the vaccine as the benefits far outweigh the risks. I would suggest that anyone who has personal concerns should talk these through with their doctor who will know their medical history and be able to help them weigh up their own risks on an individual basis.”

Yellow Card scheme

The Yellow Card Scheme contains a complete list of all suspected adverse reactions associated with the vaccine as reported by healthcare professionals, members of the public and pharmaceutical companies.

However, the list does not represent an overview of the potential side effects of the vaccine. These can be found here . People are asked to report to the Yellow Card scheme even if they only have a suspicion that the reaction was caused by the vaccine. Therefore the list is not conclusive evidence that the vaccine caused the reaction.
The MHRA carries out detailed analysis of all the reported adverse reactions before drawing any conclusions.

Underlying factors

“Seizures are very random and it is very easy to associate a seizure with the vaccine, because it happened around the same time, but it does not mean that it was actually caused by the vaccine,” continued Professor Sander.

“It could have been caused by other underlying factors or even anxiety around the vaccine. I would strongly urge people to go ahead with the second dose of the vaccine as on balance, it offers the lowest risk intervention for your health and the greatest protection against Covid-19, or a seizure caused by the virus.”

You can report any suspected adverse reactions to the vaccine through the Yellow Card scheme.