What you need to know:
- Grim reports announced by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s surveillance system known as the Vaccine Safety Datalinkshowed there was a likelihood that Pfizer BioNTech’s bivalent vaccine could be linked to Ischemic stroke.
- This is a type of stroke that occurs when a clot blocks blood and oxygen from getting to the brain.
In August last year, an updated vaccine that was touted as one that could be used against emerging Covid-19 variants was approved by major global health regulatory authorities.
The updated version of the vaccine, also called a bivalent booster, was manufactured so as to prevent severity of disease should people be infected with the Omicron variant.
Grim reports announced by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) surveillance system known as the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) showed there was a likelihood that Pfizer BioNTech’s bivalent vaccine could be linked to Ischemic stroke. This is a type of stroke that occurs when a clot blocks blood and oxygen from getting to the brain.
“Following the availability and use of the updated (bivalent) Covid-19 vaccines, CDC’s Vaccine Safety Datalink, a near real-time surveillance system, met the statistical criteria to prompt additional investigation into whether there was a safety concern for ischemic stroke in people ages 65 and older who received the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, Bivalent,” said a statement from the CDC.
“Although the totality of the data currently suggests that it is very unlikely that the signal in VSD represents a true clinical risk, we believe it is important to share this information with the public,” they added.
Kenya’s Health ministry has not announced new acquisition of the said bivalent boosters.
However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CDC said the preliminary results by VSD have not been found in people who took Moderna’s bivalent Covid-19 vaccine.
FDA probed the matter and sought to analyse other databases that studies the impact of the bivalent Covid-19 booster shot. They did not find similar links to that of the VSD.
The FDA also said other countries have also not reported such adverse impacts of the bivalent booster and so they will continue to evaluate data and other vaccine safety systems.
Data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a preliminary study from the US Veterans Affairs, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) managed by CDC and FDA as well as Pfizer-BioNTech’s global safety database did not show any link to ischemic stroke after three weeks of taking the bivalent booster.
The verdict on whether the bivalent boosters can lead to stroke is yet to be made as further analysis on the issue is being done.