Covid expert: ‘surprise’ side effects are unlikely

26.12.2020 - 14:22
Covid expert: ‘surprise’ side effects are unlikely
The official list of side effects from the new Covid-19 vaccine contains nothing unusual, says epidemiologist
Shahin Gaïni is an epidemiologist at Tórshavn’s National Hospital

The first shipment of Covid-19 vaccines arrived in Denmark last night, which means that the first batch will arrive imminently in the Faroes too.

At the same time as vaccine producers Pfizer/BionTech released the vaccines, a list of official side effects from the vaccine was published.

Having looked over the list, the leading epidemiologist in the Faroes, Dr Shahin Gaïni, says there is nothing unusual about the side effects from this vaccine.

“The side effects are best described as experiencing the symptoms of Covid-19 or the common flu for a few hours or days – and that’s a good sign because it means that the immune system is responding to the vaccine,” he says.

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The official side effects list reads as follows:

- Common side effects, affecting at least one in ten recipients: mild pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain and fever.

- Less common side effects, affecting one in ten recipients: injection site swelling and nausea.

- Rare side effects, affecting one in 100 recipients: swollen lymph nodes and a general feeling of being unwell.

 SEE ALSO Poll: two-thirds willing to receive vaccine

Dr Gaïni says that the Pfizer/BionTech vaccine was administered to more than 20,000 people during the clinical trials.

“In such clinical trials, side effects usually appear very soon after inoculation. If no side effects are observed early on, it is highly unlikely that there will be any further side effects,” he says.

“The trials with the first 20,000 participants have so far not suggested any serious long-term side effects. Although unlikely, given the relatively short observation period for this particular vaccine, it is too early to rule any such effects.”

According to the Ministry of Health, the first people in the Faroe Islands will be vaccinated within the first days of 2021.

For further information about Covid-19 in the Faroes, visit


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