These days a Tik-Tok video has gone viral, sharing the declarations of the independent member of the Andalusian Parliament Luz Belinda Rodríguez, in which she claims that there are "countless cases of people who have been vaccinated [against covid-19] and for whom the vaccine has caused significant health problems". It is DECEITFUL. The safety of the four vaccines approved in Spain is under constant surveillance by the Spanish Association of Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS in Spanish), thanks to the adverse events recorded after vaccination based on the notifications submitted by both health professionals and citizens themselves. It is true that there are thousands of reports, but the relationship of these events with the vaccine has not been proven and practically no serious cases, apart from very sporadic thrombi and Guillain-Barré syndrome, have been linked to the drug.
"There are thousands affected by the side effects of vaccines. Both doctors, nurses and health workers have provided us with data on countless cases of people who have been vaccinated and for whom the vaccine has caused significant health disorders"
The video consists of a cut that Luz Belinda Rodríguez herself made on 7 June of this year from an interview she gave on RadioYa, a radio station based in madrid. At the end of July, the video went viral, promoted by a TikTok account.
The Spanish Association of medicines and Health Products (AEMPS in Spanish) has shared up to 16 August seven pharmacosurveillance reports of each one of the four vaccines approved in Europe. These texts analyse and share the changes in the leaflets of the vaccines and the possible new side effects which are studied both at a national and european level due to the received alerts, but this does not imply that the reported symptoms have a causal relation with the vaccine.
Notifications, no adverse effects
The latest bulletin indicates that, as of 11 July 2021, and after having inoculated almost 48 million doses in Spain, 32,901 adverse events have been reported, of which 6,390 were considered serious and 254 resulted in the death of the patient. These data correspond to the number of notifications of "any adverse event associated temporarily after administration [of the vaccine], without there being any suspicion that the vaccine may have caused it," warns the AEMPS.
In other words, the Spanish pharmacovigilance system, like the American (VAERS) and European (EudraVigilance) systems, collects all medical events that occur after vaccination, regardless of the reason, and compares the numbers with the frequency at which they occur in the normal population. Only if this frequency is higher than statistically normal, the event will be considered as a possible adverse event. For example, the bulletin notes that "in the vast majority of cases reported in Spain, the death can be explained by the patient's previous clinical condition and/or other treatments he/she was taking".
Jaime Jesús Pérez, vocal of the Spanish Society of Vaccinology, told Verificat: "we have a surveillance system that has shown that it detects extremely rare adverse reactions" with frequencies of one in a million vaccinated people, and he highlights the knowledge we have of the drug: "We can no longer talk about how the vaccine seems to be safe. We know what it causes and what it doesn't cause”.
The confirmed side effects of the Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/Oxford y Janssen/Johnson&Johnson vaccines are listed and can be found in the package leaflets for each of the vaccines. The most common ones, which are shared by most injections, include fever, nausea, chills, tiredness or pain at the injection site and do not involve "major health problems''.
Citizens can also notify side effects
The Andalusian member of parliament adds, in the same cut, that the extent of this problem is unknown because health workers "are pressured by the management of the centres where they work" not to share information about the side effects caused by the covid-19 vaccines. This is FALSE. The member of the parliament provides no evidence of this alleged pressure on health workers and, in any case, the staff of medical centres are not the only ones able to report adverse events following vaccination: every citizen has the capacity to send reports directly to the AEMPS.
"Health workers warn that they are under pressure from the management of the centres where they work not to make the information public, so we cannot know the extent of this problem [the side effects]".
According to the latest AEMPS report, 75% of the reports received on possible adverse effects have been shared by healthcare professionals, but the remaining 25% come directly from citizens.
Anyone can fill in a form about the symptoms they have experienced after taking any medicine or vaccine, and these go directly to both the Spanish pharmacosurveillance system (FEDRA) and the European platform (EudraVigilance) that unifies the information coming from all over the continent.
Who is Luz Belinda Rodríguez?
Luz Belinda Rodríguez is an independent member of the Andalusian Parliament who does not belong to any political party. She was in the lines of Vox until mid-January 2021, when she left the party after filing a complaint for harassment at work, as she explained to Diario de Almería, but decided to keep her seat in the regional parliament. Although she is listed as a non-attached member, she has declared both in an interview and on her twitter account her links to the Falange Española.
In recent weeks, Rodríguez has been in the spotlight for her anti-vaccine stance, being the first Spanish parliamentarian to announce that she would not be immunised against covid-19. Through her social networks, she has expressed her doubts about the injections on several occasions and has publicly supported disinformation groups that we have already previously denied.
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