Abstract

COVID-19 infection originated in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and crippled human health globally in no time. The public health emergency required urgent efforts to develop and test the efficacy and safety of vaccines to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The emergency use approval has been granted to COVID-19 vaccines before the completion of conventional phases of clinical trials. However, there is no comprehensive review of safety data reported from the vaccine trials, which is critical information to inform the policies in order to improve uptake of COVID-19 vaccines and mitigate the risk aversion perceived due to the COVID-vaccine side effects. This study aims to systematically review and synthesize the evidence on the safety data from the published COVID-19 vaccine trials. This study followed PRISMA guidelines. We searched three major electronic databases (PubMed, Embase, and Google Scholar) for published studies between Dec 2019 and 2020. Eligible study designs were randomized trials and pre-and post-intervention evaluations. Descriptive findings of included studies were reported stratified by target population, setting, outcomes, and overall results. From PubMed, Embase, WHO database, and Google Scholar screened titles and abstracts, 11 studies were identified in this review. Most of the reactions reported were mild to moderate whereas a few with severe intensity. All reactions resolved within 3-4 days. The commonly reported local adverse events were pain at the site of injection, swelling, and redness. The systemic reactions included fever, fatigue, myalgia, and headache. Some trials also reported laboratory derangements  like decreased hemoglobin, increased bilirubin, altered SGOT and SGPT. None of these alterations were clinically manifested and were self-limiting. Few clinical trials reported serious adverse events, but they were unrelated to vaccination. This systematic review indicates that COVID-19 vaccines can be safe with no serious adverse events. However, long-term post-marketing surveillance data, particularly in high-risk vulnerable populations (elderly and those with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children) is warranted to ensure the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.
Adolescents (10-18 years) Adults (18+) Elderly (65+) Vaccine/vaccination Safety COVID-19