Of the more than 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines that have been administered in Illinois, about 340 people have self-reported adverse reactions – that’s about 0.07 percent of the people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
At least two deaths have been reported in relation to the COVID-19 vaccine in Illinois, according to data, which the CDC notes is unverified.
Those are part of around 340 adverse reactions reported to the CDC. The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System from the CDC accepts voluntary reports from anyone, including healthcare providers, vaccine manufacturers and the public. In its scope, the system can be used as an early warning of any safety problems, according to the CDC.
While vaccine providers are encouraged to report adverse reactions to the CDC, the reports to the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System are unverified.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Illinois has administered more than 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, according to information from the Illinois Department of Public Health. Nearly 109,000 people have been fully vaccinated, the state said. About 12.6 million people live in the state, according to 2019 Census Bureau figures.
Memorial Health Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Raj Govindaiah said he had minor reactions that others have experienced.
“I had a little sore arm, I was maybe a little tired the next morning, otherwise I was fine,” he told WMAY. “I was back to normal in 36 to 48 hours.”
More common reactions reported to the CDC included hot flashes, nausea and dizziness.
“It’s actually a sign that your immune system is learning how to identify and prevent you from getting coronavirus,” Govindaiah said.
Others with a history of allergic reactions should consult a physician before getting the vaccine, he said. For those getting a dose, Govindaiah said there will be immediate observation.
“We watch everyone for 15 to 30 minutes before we allow them to leave and that’s part of the protocol for giving them the vaccination,” Govindaiah said.
About 340 individual cases have reported about 1,500 adverse reactions in Illinois, according to CDC data as of Friday.
The two deaths in Illinois reported to the CDC were men in their 60s. The unverified reports showed both had medical histories and both were taking a variety of medications. Three people reported face numbness and paralysis.
The CDC says the adverse reports it receives are meant to provide a possible warning sign of any problems.
Govindaiah said such reports are valuable.
“I will tell you after this process, this will be the most understood vaccine that has ever been made because we’re capturing that information in real-time,” he said.
State data shows less than a full percent of the state’s population has been vaccinated.
Beginning Jan. 25, the Pritzker administration said people 65 and older can get vaccinated, as can frontline essential workers like teachers, grocery store workers, delivery drivers, corrections workers and prison inmates.
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