With around 7 billion doses administered, the vaccines have largely been proven safe, but there are still major concerns around rare serious side-effects and long term safety unknowns. Experts discuss how safety events have been picked up via public reporting systems -- which have been both a help and a hindrance for the safety discussion -- and how they are being further analyzed. Experts breakdown real world data and the occurrence of rare serious adverse events including VITT (with the adenoviral vector vaccines) and myocarditis (with the mRNA vaccines). While the newer modalities have led to a few surprise fatalities, the inactivated viral vaccines remain clear of fatal serious events and experts discuss what risk ratio is generally acceptable in a deadly pandemic. Experts also discuss extreme safety alarm being perpetuated by social media, particularly the claim that vaccines are killing more people than they are saving. They stress the need for better public communication and education, whilst it is important to vet public sources that may be overdramatizing certain risks by promoting flawed analyses.
-- Dr Jeffrey Morris is Professor of Biostatistics and Director, Biostatistics Division at the University of Pennsylvania, US. His research focuses on developing quantitative methods to extract knowledge from biomedical big data and he set up a blog dedicated to issues concerning the Covid-19 pandemic.
-- Dr Nikolai Petrovsky is Professor of Medicine, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia and vice-president and secretary-general of the International Immunomics Society. He is the founder of vaccine biotech, Vaxine, which has a protein based vaccine for Covid-19 in its pipeline.
-- Dr Maria Elena Bottazzi is the Associate Dean, National School of Tropical Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics (Tropical Medicine) and Molecular Virology and Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine, Texas, US. She is a leading expert in the field of vaccine development and tropical diseases.
-- Dr Miguel O'Ryan is Professor of Microbiology and Mycology, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Chile, where is also Director of International Affairs. His research focuses on molecular and clinical aspects of enteric disease, pediatric vaccines and infection of the immunocompromised host.