Those checks are proving reassuring. But since extremely rare problems might not turn up even in large tests, the vaccines still are being monitored. The U.S. and British governments and the European Medicines Agency track reports filed by health workers and the public about suspected side effects. Extra scrutiny in the U.S. includes tracking insurance claims for red flags. And U.S. vaccine recipients can sign up for a program that sends text messages to see if they’re feeling side effects. People are supposed to wait around for a short time after vaccination in case they have a severe allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis. Such incidents so far have been rare, with between 2 and 5 anaphylaxis reports for every million vaccine doses in the first weeks of U.S. inoculations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Scientists look for safety issues during the testing phase and continue their monitoring as shots roll out around the world. So far, the only serious warning to emerge is a rare risk of severe allergic reactions. How do we know the COVID-19 vaccines are safe? Different types of COVID-19 vaccines have been authorized and it’s possible side effects will differ for each — although there’s more public data on the vaccines being rolled out in Western countries than elsewhere. Countries also vary in their vaccine standards, with some allowing the use of shots before final-stage testing involving large numbers of volunteers. Officials expected to receive reports of health problems, even deaths, that occur just by chance in the days or weeks after vaccination, given the huge numbers of people, including the frail elderly, getting inoculated. But in the U.S., Britain and European Union, regulators required any vaccine to be tested in tens of thousands of people before distribution. So far, the U.S. is using shots from Pfizer and Moderna, while Britain and Europe have cleared those plus the AstraZeneca vaccine. How do we know the COVID-19 vaccines are safe? (AP Illustration/Peter Hamlin) By LAURAN NEERGAARD AP Medical Writer Those companies’ large studies found that common side effects were minor and typical of the immune system revving up: soreness in the arm, fever and flu-like symptoms including fatigue, chills and headache. Deaths and other serious events are investigated to see if the vaccine played a role. Authorities consider the person’s overall health and how often the reported condition occurs without vaccination. With more than 52 million vaccine doses administered in the U.S. by mid-February, the CDC said it hasn’t detected any patterns in deaths that signal a safety problem.
Denise van Outen in a promotional photo for “Chicago”(Photo provided by Raw PR) Chicago alum Denise van Outen will re-join the West End cast of the hit musical revival on September 24, taking on the role of Velma Kelly for a limited engagement at the Phoenix Theatre through November 17. Van Outen replaces current Chicago star Josefina Gabrielle.New to the role of Velma, Van Outen was formerly seen as Roxie Hart in Chicago in London and on Broadway. Her other London stage credits include Tell Me on a Sunday, Legally Blonde, Rent and her solo show Some Girl I Used to Know. On TV, van Outen currently judges Ireland’s Got Talent, having previously judged BBC1’s Any Dream Will Do and I’d Do Anything alongside Andrew Lloyd Webber.Van Outen will join a Chicago cast that includes Alexandra Burke as Roxie Hart, Duncan James as Billy Flynn, Mazz Murray as Mama Morton and Paul Rider as Amos Hart.Based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins, Chicago features a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander and lyrics by Ebb. The production features choreography by Ann Reinking in the style of Fosse and direction by Walter Bobbie. View Comments