Adverse events

*This advice is current as of April 15, 2021.Content is subject to change as new information becomes available. Please check back regularly.

Allergic reactions

With any vaccine, the potential for allergic reactions exists. Currently, Health Canada does not recommend receipt of either vaccine for the following populations:

  • Persons with proven immediate or anaphylactic hypersensitivity to any component of the vaccine or its container, including polyethylene glycol.
  • Individuals with a history of anaphylaxis after previous administration of the vaccine.

Adverse events or side effects:

Most people have no side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine. If you do have side effects, they tend to be mild and go away in a few days. Side effects may include:

  • fever or chills
  • feeling tired
  • body aches or sore joints
  • headache
  • feeling sick to your stomach (nausea)
  • vomiting (throwing up), or loose stool (diarrhea)
  • swollen lymph nodes

Patient advice on managing these side effects is available from MyHealth.Alberta.ca

Out of nearly 6 million total doses administered in Canada, the proportion having a serious adverse reaction is only 0.007% (Health Canada).

As millions of doses of both vaccines have been given worldwide, the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (CSACI) identifies the risk for serious allergic reaction as low (CSACI, January 5, 2021).

Vaccine-Induced Prothrombotic Immune Thrombocytopenia following AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccination

There are reports in Europe of a blood clot condition (Vaccine-Induced Prothrombotic Immune Thrombocytopenia, or VIPIT) following the administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

There have been no reports of VIPIT in Alberta or the rest of Canada.

The scientific evidence is currently being reviewed and monitored and health officials will adjust recommendations as needed.

Patients are to contact Healthlink or their primary care provider if they experience events outside the expected reactions.

Here is a tool from Ontario to assist health professionals dealing with VIPIT in an outpatient setting.

Any future Alberta recommendations will supersede this advice.

Reporting Adverse Events in Alberta

If a patient reaches out to their family physician about an adverse event, the physician must report it using the following process. Fill out the fields you can. AHS will manage any duplicate submissions:

An AEFI is defined as an unfavorable health occurrence experienced by a patient that:

More resources

  • Vaccine-Induced Prothrombotic Immune Thrombocytopenia (VIPIT) following AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccination: Interim Guidance for Healthcare Professionals in the Outpatient Setting
    • Follows immunization
    • Cannot be attributed to a pre-existing condition and
    • Meets one or more of the following as determined by a health practitioner:
      • A life-threatening health occurrence that requires hospitalization or urgent medical attention.
      • The health occurrence is unusual or unexpected that:
        • Has not previously been identified; or
        • Has been previously identified but has increased frequency
      • The health occurrence cannot be explained by the patient’s medical history, recent disease or illness or consumption of medication.

Questions

If you have any questions about this toolkit, please email backthevax@albertadoctors.org.

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