Dr. Supriya Sharma, chief medical adviser at Health Canada, speaks during a press conference to announce that Health Canada has authorized the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, at the Sir John A. Macdonald Building in Ottawa on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Kawai

Dr. Supriya Sharma, chief medical adviser at Health Canada, speaks during a press conference to announce that Health Canada has authorized the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, at the Sir John A. Macdonald Building in Ottawa on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Kawai

No unexpected side-effects from COVID-19 shots given in Canada so far: Health Canada

Most side effects subside within 24 hours

Health Canada has no reports of unexpected side-effects from patients vaccinated against COVID-19 thus far.

“There haven’t been any serious adverse events, or even the mild and moderate adverse events, that have been out of line or different than what we’ve seen in the clinical trials,” Dr. Supriya Sharma said in an interview with The Canadian Press Friday.

Sharma, Health Canada’s chief medical adviser, is overseeing the vaccine review process.

She said experts look for two things when reviewing data after vaccines are given. The first is whether anything happens that was not observed during the clinical trials, and the second is whether the side-effects that were documented during the trials are more severe or greater in number than what the trials saw.

The answer to both questions in Canada so far is no, said Sharma.

“It seems that the clinical trials are pretty representative,” she said.

The most common side-effects from the vaccines are short-term fever, pain at the injection site, headache and fatigue. Most subside within 24 hours.

Health Canada approved two vaccines for COVID-19 in December, including one from Pfizer and BioNTech and a second from Moderna.

Vaccinations began Dec. 14, and data aggregated by University of Saskatchewan student Noah Little shows about 230,000 doses have been given so far. Most of the first doses went to front-line hospital staff and long-term care workers and a smaller number of long-term care residents.

Vaccines began reaching some First Nations and northern territories this week.

Health Canada continues to review data from two other vaccine developers, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, but is still awaiting more data from the companies. Sharma said she can’t say when Health Canada would be ready to make a decision about either one.

Both companies are expected to complete Phase 3 clinical trials in the United States this month.

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada sits ready for use at The Michener Institute in Toronto on December 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn)
Lake Babine Nation to receive Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine to arrive within next two weeks for elders 65+

The first of two massive turbines headed from Prince Rupert for the Site C Dam near Fort St. John on Jan 10. (Photo: Supplied by Tasha McKenzie)
Massive turbines begin trek across Northwestern B.C.

Hydro-Electric turbines headed from Prince Rupert to Site C Dam week of Jan. 10 to 14

Zhùr, the ancient wolf pup found mummified in permafrost at Last Chance Creek mine in July 2016. (Government of Yukon/Submitted)
‘Mummy’ wolf pup unearthed in permafrost paints a picture of ice age ancestors

Zhùr is the best preserved and most complete mummy of an ancient wolf found to date.

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Forestry companies in B.C. agree to abide by the cedar protocols based on traditional laws of the First Nation members of the Nanwakolas Council. (Photo courtesy, Nanwakolas Council)
Landmark deal sees B.C. forest firms treat big cedars like a First Nation would

Western Forest Products, Interfor among companies to adapt declaration drafted by Nanwakolas Council

A northern resident killer whale shows injuries sustained by a collision with a vessel in B.C. waters. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Coast Guard ramps up protections for B.C. whales

First-ever Marine Mammal Desk will enhance cetacean reporting and enforcement

Most Read