ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202302.0278.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; vaccine; mRNA vaccine; adenoviral vector vaccine; adverse event; local adverse event; systemic adverse event
Online: 16 February 2023 (08:00:51 CET)
The immunization of healthcare workers in the early stages of the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines was prioritized in order to ensure uninterrupted medical care provision. At the same time the increasing number of available COVID-19 vaccines may trigger hesitancy towards the decision to get vaccinated. Thus, accumulating reliable information on the adverse events following immunization may educate and urge the general population to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The present study aimed to evaluate the adverse events (AEs) following immunization with any of the available COVID-19 vaccine among Bulgarian healthcare workers (HCWs). A cross-sectional study among HCWs in Plovdiv, Bulgaria was conducted in the period March – September 2021. Through a semi-structured online questionnaire, the participants reported the adverse events following the administration of the first and second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. A total of 253 respondents, vaccinated with one of the available vaccines against COVID-19 took part in the study. Of them 71.9% were females, and 75.9% received mRNA-based vaccines, while 24.1% received a viral-vector based vaccine. Overall 91.6% and 82.6% of all participants reported at least one local AE after the first and second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The share of respondents reporting at least one systemic AE after the first and second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine was 59.7% and 62.4% respectively. The most common local AE was pain at the injection spot (84.0%), while the most common systemic AEs were fatigue (54.9%), chills (43.2%), and headache (41.7%). The mRNA-based vaccines versions seem to cause higher prevalence of local AEs, while the vector-based vaccines were linked with increased prevalence of systemic AEs. Female HCWs and the younger age group were associated with an increased risk of adverse events generally. Our results added more evidence that mRNA-based and viral-vector based vaccines are generally safe. The reported adverse events were mild, although they occurred in a high share of the respondents. No serious AEs attributable to the vaccines were reported.