16 March 2021

not out of the woods or beware of the mutations

One week since the second vaccine. I just filled out the requested report on the side effects for the vaccination center which will be part of yet another study on this pandemic.

This is what happened: first six hours, i.e. Tuesday afternoon after the jab, tired and nauseous, nothing dramatic. During the night, shivers, sweating, no fever, more nausea, headache. Next morning massive vertigo, unable to walk straight, headache, nausea, shivers, slept mostly. Second night same story as first. Vertigo and headache stayed with me until Sunday, and by Thursday, that is day two post vaccine, my blood pressure had gone down well below 90/60 every time we checked and my GP ordered me to drink tea, lick some salt and walk around and upstairs when possible to get things going. That eventually did the trick, yesterday was the first fairly normal reading but bp is still dropping from time to time.

It all felt like hard work was going on. 

So, what else. My country has suspended the astra seneca vaccine for the time being, hopefully just for a matter of days. Here, there have been by now seven cases of a rare type of thrombosis, the so-called sinus vein thrombosis - usually there are less than 50 cases/annually.  Six of them were women of younger to middle age.  All cases occurred between 4 and 16 days after vaccination and three of the seven people have died.  In such a rare disease, seven cases within such a short time is significant and coincidence is highly unlikely. My uneducated guess is co-factors (possibly contraceptive pill plus smoking plus autoimmunity plus whatever) and/or vaccine batch related.

And now it's all down to risk assessment.

Then there is this from a brand new publication (read here) by a team of researchers from Harvard, Berlin and S. Africa, not yet completely peer-reviewed (the bold highlights are mine):

Vaccination elicits immune responses capable of potently neutralizing SARS-CoV-2. However, ongoing surveillance has revealed the emergence of variants harboring mutations in spike, the main target of neutralizing antibodies. To understand the impact of these variants, we evaluated the neutralization potency of 99 individuals that received one or two doses of either BNT162b2 or mRNA-1273 vaccines against pseudoviruses representing 10 globally circulating strains of SARS-CoV-2. Five of the 10 pseudoviruses, ..., were highly resistant to neutralization. Cross-neutralization of B.1.351 variants was comparable to SARS-CoV and bat-derived WIV1-CoV, suggesting that a relatively small number of mutations can mediate potent escape from vaccine responses. While the clinical impact of neutralization resistance remains uncertain, these results highlight the potential for variants to escape from neutralizing humoral immunity and emphasize the need to develop broadly protective interventions against the evolving pandemic.

In other words, the vaccine may not (immediately, eventually, yet) bring the desired salvation, "neutralization" means vaccine, "broadly protective interventions" could mean anything from vaccine boosters to ongoing mask wearing and distancing and oh well, have a think.

I went to the farmer's market today and distance-met with a friend in bad shape, someone working in the field of arts, freelance, successful, so busy, we rarely had time to meet. We recalled the years we each happily lived in far away tropical places with the ever present threat of debilitating illnesses. Her years were spent in places far more dangerous than where we lived.

Trying to remain level headed, we agreed that basically we are acting like angry spoiled kids because a virus is messing with our comfort zones. This actually cheered us both up. Go figure.

On a more cheerful note, here is Curt Smith, of the 1980s band Tears for Fears, and his daughter Diva with one of the big Tears for Fears songs that made me swing my toddler on my hips around the room.


am said...

We are living through this. Up and down. Grateful to be alive. Cheerful moments.

Elizabeth said...

It's all so weird. A grand experiment -- life, the vaccine, the whole she-bang, the whole catastrophe. Whatever, as my son says.

Ms. Moon said...

It's a learn-as-we-go situation, isn't it?
I did enjoy that father-daughter duo so much.

Anonymous said...

I go up and down, up and down about it. It's just such an interesting thing to be living during a global pandemic. Sometimes I look around when we're in the parking lot at the food co-op and see everyone wearing masks and I wonder, Will this ever end? There are so many more people on earth who have it way worse than we do, and yet I feel so upended by it all.
This music is so wonderful and uplifting. Thank you so much for this.

ellen abbott said...

we are so impatient! we moderns humans in first world nations are used to instant gratification. why isn't this over yet!!! actually my life hasn't changed all that much for which I am grateful. I wear a mask, haven't been to a movie in over a year. the rest? well, we weren't in the habit of eating out, didn't attend things with big crowds. that there is any kind of vaccine at all right now is nothing short of a miracle considering how long other vaccines took to develop. so a booster until they perfect a vaccine. I'm good with that. so sorry your had such a bad reaction to your second jab.

Joared said...

Tears for Fears one of the groups I enjoyed, too. Sorry you had such a reaction to your vaccine. I finished my Pfizer 2nd shot and only thing I experienced was ear ache but not sure due to vaccine. Stuffed tissue in my ear and got relief — same thing next day and now it’s all gone. I plan to continue precautions even after the two weeks they say after vaccination before full protection. I think these variants are yet to be reckoned with.

Colette said...

I'm happy to hear you are now feeling better. My husband had a similar 2-day reaction to the second Pfizer shot.

My life so far said...

Sounds like the vaccine got your immune system good and riled up. Thank you for the info on the thrombosis of the astrz-zenica vaccine as I haven't read anything useful on it here, just that people had died of blood clots, nothing more specific.

This morning I did read that German doctors had come up with a treatment plan for those with the clots which is reassuring. My husband had his astra-zenica shot last week so I've been keeping an eye on him. The birthday for those who can have the vaccine is a constantly moving target here, going from 1958 up to 1961 and then back down to 1954. I was born in 1962 so still waiting.

Lovely video.