Updated 8/7/2022 at 12:53
- Is the number of side effects after corona vaccination really much higher than reported so far?
- New data from panel doctors are said to show this.
- However, they have been misinterpreted.
- We check facts and clear up misunderstandings.
What is the expected response to the vaccination, what are the serious side effects? In the corona vaccine debate, some actors still get caught up in this question. It is sometimes argued that side effects are much more frequent than before.
For example, in the current proposal, the AfD parliamentary group writes, citing new data from the National Association of Health Insurance Doctors (KBV) about 2.5 million patients with side effects of vaccines who were treated by their contract doctors in 2021. But the KBV is grading numbers – the data, for example, doesn’t distinguish between common vaccine responses and reported side effects.
Law: Figures from KBV show that the side effects of corona vaccination are much higher than expected. Thus, in 2021, almost 2.5 million patients had to receive treatment.
Very rarely, serious side effects
The effectiveness of COVID vaccines has been scientifically proven. It is also known that transient reactions such as “vaccine arm” or headaches are common, but severe side effects are extremely rare.
At the request of the AfD parliamentary group in the Bundestag, the National Association of Occupational Health Insurance Doctors has compiled the latest data on vaccine side effects. This was confirmed by KBV of the German Press Agency (dpa). The available dpa analysis mentions almost 2.5 million patients who reported to panel doctors in 2021 after vaccination. Their symptoms ranged from “normal and therefore unreportable vaccine reactions as well as reportable vaccine side effects,” writes KBV.
The plenum on Wednesday sent a request from the Bundestag to the health committee, based on this data, calling for an explanation of the side effects of vaccines. It states that the extent and risk of vaccine side effects have historically been “marginalized and trivialized.” Health policy spokesman for the AfD parliamentary group, Martin Sichert, called the KBV numbers “terrifying” in late June.
The common harmless vaccine reactions are also subject to vaccine side effects
The umbrella organization of 17 statutory health insurance physicians’ associations in Germany reacted indignantly: the council “distances itself most strongly from statements and interpretations,” Sicherta said. The number of approximately 2.5 million patients with vaccine side effects “is by no means unexpected and dramatic.”
KBV also understands that side effects of vaccination are common, harmless post-vaccination reactions that last from one to three days: such as a skin rash, redness and pain at the injection site, fever or fatigue. “They are by far the largest part of the recorded intolerances and complications.” Only serious side effects were not reported under any circumstances.
KBV has assessed the billing data with four diagnostic keys, only one of which is specifically used for corona vaccinations. The other three may also be awarded for vaccination reactions following a tetanus injection or hepatitis.
An ICD key is also assigned if the patient is left untreated
Doctors have to put these so-called ICD codes on their bills. For example, anyone who feels too weak to go to work after immunization consults their doctor about a sick leave. Patients do not necessarily need to be treated for this, as reported by KBV. However, an ICD key will still be issued.
Depending on the situation, such a code may describe a normal and innocuous response to vaccination or a side effect that is beyond the normal level and must also be reported to the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI). PEI assesses the benefits and risks of vaccines. By the end of 2021, a total of 244,576 cases of suspected adverse reactions following corona vaccination were reported to the Institute. “Serious side effects have been reported in 29,786 suspected cases,” reports PEI.
“The difference between the vaccine responses documented by doctors and those reported to PEI is therefore understandable and to be expected,” says KBV. According to the Robert Koch Institute, the total number of corona vaccinations in Germany in 2021 was around 150 million.
High public attention leads to more reports
Almost 2.5 million patients with side effects documented by KBV do not have to come to the office solely for symptoms after vaccination: “Patients will also see their doctor for other conditions such as chronic underlying disease and mentioned the side effects of vaccination that then coded by a doctor, ”according to KBV.
Comparing the number of reported side effects of vaccination against COVID in KBV with previous vaccinations also lags behind, which KBV also points out: Experts have repeatedly emphasized that the high level of public interest during the pandemic has also led to more reports of possible vaccine responses and side effects .
Several attempts have been made in the past to prove the allegedly unrecognized high number of side effects of corona vaccination. So far, however, there is no evidence of this. Presumed analyzes revealed serious shortcomings: A study by a gifted professor from Berlin’s Charité turned out to be an open-ended internet survey that even the Charité database did not consider adequate. In the opinion of the insurance company BKK Provita, no distinction was made between temporary reactions to vaccination and permanent side effects. (ff / dpa)
As in the previous season, Germany has so far been spared the flu epidemic. Experts fear that the internationally weakened flu that spread during the corona pandemic could later lead to even more serious cases.