Around 2,000 cases of possible vaccine side-effects
240,000 people in Iceland are now fully-vaccinated and a further 25,000 are waiting for their second injection. The mass vaccination programme will end next week for the summer, when second shots of Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca vaccines will be administered to the final people.
A total of 2,100 reports of possible side-effects have been received by the medicines agency, though most are classed as minor.
Rúna Hauksdóttir Hvannberg, director of the agency, says the rate of side-effects seems to have been similar in Iceland to other neighbouring countries.
“Actually, it’s on a par with what we were expecting,” she says. “There is nothing exactly unexpected about this. The most common side effects are fever, headache, aching bones and muscles, listlessness, and fatigue. That’s the sort of top five, and seems to be very similar for all the vaccines,” Rúna says.
Some 130 of the reports are classed as serious—including 26 deaths following vaccination. No direct link between vaccination and death has been established in any of the Icelandic cases, however.
Proportionately the most reports of suspected side-effects have come after injections of the Moderna vaccine. Two people in every hundred reported some sort of side effects. Next was AstraZeneca, with a reported one percent rate of side effects, Pfizer on 0.6 percent, and Janssen on 0.4 percent. Rúna says there are many things that could skew these figures, though: some vaccines have been used more than others, and there has been great variation in which have been used for different groups within society.
“In fact, the older the people, the more severe the side effects. It goes without saying that the older age group has more pre-existing medical conditions,” Rúna says. Most of the very oldest people in Iceland were given the Pfizer vaccine, which therefore appears to have performed particularly well, in light of Rúna’s point.