Croatian Scientists: Chance of Serious Vaccine Side Effects Far Lower Than Virus Complications

Lauren Simmonds

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 13th of December, 2020, a group of Croatian scientists and doctors have stated in an open letter to the public on Sunday that without the coronavirus vaccination, the ongoing epidemic would not go away, stressing that they were convinced by rigorous scientific testing that all of the currently approved vaccines would be effective and safe.

”Based on rigorous pre-vaccine testing, and according to the strict rules of the medical and scientific community and regulatory agencies, we’re confident that all of the approved COVID-19 vaccines will be effective and safe and that the risk of their serious side effects will be to be reduced to a minimum,” pointed out the signatories of the letter, among whom is the Croatian scientist Ivan Djikic, who has been especially vocal during the pandemic.

Croatian scientists and doctors have warned that without vaccination, and without additionally respecting the proper epidemiological measures, this pandemic will not disappear, but will consequently last longer and cause additional human and economic losses for Croatia’s residents.

”Proper vaccination provides protection against infection for individuals, and vaccination of the population can lead to the creation of collective immunity. For these reasons, but also for the lack of more effective therapy, we consider vaccination against COVID-19 to be the best way to protect people,” the statement said.

The risk of serious side effects from the vaccine is immeasurably less than the risk of developing complications as a result of the coronavirus infection.

Croatian scientists and doctors, as well as those from abroad, have stated that the new coronavirus is potentially very dangerous and is highly contagious, and that the risk of serious side effects from vaccination is immeasurably lower than the risk of complications due to COVID-19 for each age group.

”A lot of people are undecided whether or not to get vaccinated because of the possible side effects. It’s important to understand that the vaccine activates the immune system and teaches it to recognise the virus in a safe way. Therefore, it acts as a fake infection, which helps build immunity against SARS-COV-2, but it can also cause some transient discomfort,” they explained.

This group of Croatian scientists also say that vaccines for the novel coronavirus have been developed faster than any other vaccine in the world, and that they understand the level of public interest in them and the questions that are being asked about it. However, they state that their trust in these currently developed vaccines is based on the extensive results of scientific tests, and that the vaccines that will be used in Croatia are tested and approved according to the strictest safety criteria of the European Union.

Vaccine administration is continuously monitored by regulatory authorities.

Many side effects such as local redness, fever and fatigue are actually very normal consequences after each vaccination as this is an effect of the expected activation of the immune system, but they aren’t considered to be more severe side effects than usual, the scientists explain.

”To reduce the risk of serious side effects to an absolute minimum, extensive and rigorously controlled clinical studies are being conducted on tens of thousands of volunteers,” they say. They add that even after the vaccine is approved, the use of the vaccine is then continuously monitored by regulatory bodies, and in the event of more serious side effects, vaccination is limited or suspended.

At the end of the statement, they pointed out that as scientists and members of the healthcare community, they unanimously support and recommend the official Vaccination Programme in Croatia, according to a harmonised schedule and priorities, in order to protect human life from possible serious consequences of the disease.

The statement was signed by the following Croatian scientists: Ana Barac, Ivan Djikic, Magdalena Grce, Danka Grcevic, Stipan Jonjic, Vanda Juranic Lisnic, Tomislav Kelava, Vladimir Krajinovic, Astrid Krmpotic, Pero Lucin, Kresimir Luetic, Igor Mezic, Bojan Polic, Iskra Pusic, Kristijan Ramadan , Ivana Novak Nakir, Marija Santini, Vlatko Silobrcic, Mihaela Skobe, Sasa Srica, Ivana Smit, Igor Stagljar, Tihomir Stefanec, Janos Terzic, Andrej Trampuz, Boris Ujevic, Sinisa Volarevic, Domagoj Vucic, Oliver Vugrek and Felix Wensveen.

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