As of September 10, 62.6%, or more than half of Korean society has completed their first round of COVID-19 vaccinations. However, as a significant proportion of young adults and middle-aged people were vaccinated, several side effects were reported. These accounts are causing some people to second guess their decision to get vaccinated.
|▲ Some people are nervous about getting vaccinated nowadays against COVID-19. (photo from sisasangjo)|
There have been a few cases of significant side effects related to the COVID-19 vaccine. An elementary school teacher in his 20s began suffering severe pain on August 10 after his first dose was received and went to the hospital. The first hospital that he went to was unable to treat him. He was obliged to visit the emergency room of a nearby university hospital, but the doctors were unable to determine the cause of the problem, so he was sent home with a prescription to treat his symptoms. The next day, he returned to the hospital in more pain and was diagnosed with a rotting small intestine as blood clots blocked the hepatic portal vein to his liver. Although they performed surgery to remove half of his small intestine, he never improved and eventually died on September 3rd. Another man in his 20s also died of a stroke after being vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine. Many women are also reporting frequent cases of irregular menstrual bleeding after being vaccinated. These cases, and others, are discouraging non-vaccinated people from getting their jab.
There are also reports of mishaps at vaccination sites. At a general hospital in Jung-gu, Ulsan-si, more than 90 people were vaccinated with expired doses. About 8 people were also vaccinated with expired medication in Busan. Two of them complained of stomachache and body aches following the injections. There are reports of hospitals confusing the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines leading to improper dosages. In Cheongju at a private clinic, 10 Pfizer vaccines were administered at a larger than prescribed dose. Normally, the Pfizer vaccine is diluted with saline solution before it is administered. However, Moderna is not diluted and is injected in its pure form. In this situation, the nurse mixed up the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and instead injected the pure form of the Pfizer dose. As a result, the patients received 5 to 6 times more than was prescribed. Fortunately, the patients experienced only minor side effects such as headaches and fever.
|▲ There are some cybercafés spread fake news about COVID-19 vaccines. (photo from Dailymedi)|
These reports have led to the creation of several cybercafé posts sharing a list of side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine. A cybercafe post entitled, ‘Astra Numbness in Hands and Feet’ reached 4,467 entries and its membership grew to 15,857 as of August 29. The problem is that fake news is also being spread through these cybercafes. Some are turning the forums into sites for users to express their distrust of COVID-19 vaccines. A cybercafe called, ‘Anti Vaccine Cafe’ was originally intended for users to share the current state of COVID-19 confirmed cases. However, this cybercafe changed its name to the more suitable anti vax title this past July. One user created a post entitled, “Your brain and body will be spoilt.” In it he wrote, “Mercury, which is an ingredient in vaccines, causes infertility, brain damage, and organ failure. Also, formaldehyde causes seizures, visual field defects, comas, and even death.” As the anxiety of receiving the vaccine increases, the number of patients giving up their vaccination appointments is on the rise. One member of a anti-vaccine cybercafe posted the “primary vaccination was too tough on me to warrant getting the second,” while another user gathered lots of sympathy by posting, “I think it is a good decision to cancel my reservation.” Korean singer Seong Si-kyeong said, “I am supposed to get vaccinated in late September,” and “It is the duty of the public to obey the government, but that does not mean unconditional obedience, especially when the safety of the public is at risk,” via his YouTube streaming. This remark drew comment from both sides. Those who reacted positively said, their personal choice should be recognized, while those that reacted negatively said it could inspire people not to get vaccinated.
The Dankook Herald (DKH) surveyed Dankookians (Students of Dankook University) about the COVID-19 vaccination. We asked them if they got vaccinated, and 66.7% of students answered they did. We asked them how they felt before they got vaccinated. 58.3% said they ‘felt anxious’ while 37.5% said they didn’t feel anything’. When Dankookians who hadn’t been vaccinated yet were asked whether they feel afraid of the side effects one student said, “I’m concerned that the ‘fake news’ about the COVID-19 vaccination may actually be true.”
As concerns of the side effects of vaccination keep growing, several people are reconsidering their decision to get vaccinated. Although it is not mandatory, it is the only solution we have, to handle the pandemic. Therefore, appropriate responses from the government are necessary to address these side effects and restore confidence in the vaccination process. We all dream of a world where we are safe again. However, only when ‘safety’ is ensured will the people be able to fulfill their responsibilities to the community and help fight this terrible disease.
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