On the experience of vaccination with Covishield of the staff of the Faculty of Postgraduate Education

On the experience of vaccination with Covishield of the staff of the Faculty of Postgraduate Education

Today, we would like to talk about the results of vaccination among the employees of the Faculty of Postgraduate Education. As you know, there was only one type of vaccine against Covid-19 available in Ukraine on April, 1, 2021. It is AstraZeneca, also known as AZD1222 and ChAdOx1, and is commercially available under the trade names Vaxzevria (formerly Oxford AstraZeneca, manufactured in Europe) and Covishield (manufactured at the Serum Institute of India). The Serum Institute of India is an Indian biotechnology and pharmaceutical company that is the world's largest manufacturer of vaccines which produces about 1.5 billion doses annually. It is there that the vaccine, known under the trade name Covishield, is manufactured under the license from AstraZeneca.

 In Ukraine, mass vaccination campaign began on February 25, 2021, and in Transcarpathia,  on March 11, 2021. Employees of the Faculty of Postgraduate Education of UzhNU were among the first people to receive the first dose of the vaccine. In the first few days of the vaccination campaign, most faculty members were vaccinated, except those who had contraindications or had had COVID-19 less than 3 months ago. As of today, we encounter a lot of publications on adverse reactions and complications after vaccination, as well as allegations of ineffectiveness of the vaccine produced in India. Naturally, such reactions occur in a certain percentage of people who have been immunized with any kind of vaccine. It is also worth noting that according to the analysis of 4 clinical trials published in The Lancet, the effectiveness of AstraZeneca reaches 63-70% after the first shot, and about 81.3% after revaccination with the second dose after 12 weeks. Recently, a series of reports have been published in the media that the AstraZeneca vaccine could cause thrombosis. It has also been reported that some countries had suspended vaccination with AstraZeneca or refused to use it. In fact, there may occur complications from any kind of vaccine, but such as thrombosis are extremely rare. Investigation of such cases is a standard procedure, which often involves the process of temporary suspension of the use of the drug. In this case, the European Medical Agency (EMA) did not find a link between vaccination and thrombosis, nor was it proven by other local studies. For prevention, low-dose aspirin is recommended for patients at risk and older ones on the day of vaccination and for 10 days after.

Having vaccinated a group of our employees, we decided to conduct a survey and monitor the level of immunoglobulin G among the vaccinated faculty members. The survey covered 71 respondents, contained 12 questions related to adverse reactions and was conducted 5 days after the vaccination. Moreover, 3 weeks after getting the first dose of the vaccine, 12 colleagues were tested for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 virus. The age of the respondents was 23-78 years, and the distribution by sex was almost equal (52% - male, 48% - female). Of all the respondents, more than a half (58.8%) did not suffer from COVID-19, the rest had the disease 5 or more months ago.

 Among the adverse reactions, respondents most often noted the injection site pain - 83.1%, 57.7% complained of general weakness, and 42.3% had a body temperature above 37.2C. In addition, chills (46,5%), headache (43.7%) and muscle pain (36.6%) were recorded. Drowsiness (12.7%), insomnia (15.5%) and sweating (16.9%) were less frequent. At the same time, it should be noted that with 71.7% of the respendents the symptoms lasted no longer than 3 days and in almost all of them disappeared 5 days after the shot. Other symptoms occurred with a frequency of less than 2%. It should be noted that almost every fifth person vaccinated (16.9%) did not show any symptoms.

 Interestingly, fever was less common in men than in women. It should also be noted that among people over 40 years of age local manifestations were more common, while general symptoms were more common in younger people. No correlation was found between COVID-19 and the frequency and severity of symptoms.

12 vaccinated colleagues have been tested for the titer of antibodies (immunoglobulin G) to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Based on the obtained laboratory data, we can state that in the third week after receiving the first dose of Covishield vaccine, the titer of these antibodies exceeded the reference values ​​(>1.1) several times. They ranged from 3,697 to 10,987, with an average of 8,656. Correlation analysis did not reveal the link between antibody levels and COVID-19 disease.

Summing up the results of the survey, we can state that the side effects from immunization with Covishield vaccine are insignificant, and the gained immunity is obvious and is formed rather quickly (based on the level of antibodies). It is also worth mentioning that two colleagues of ours were in direct long-lasting contact with a person having COVID-19 whose PCR test was positive. At the same time, they were tested as negative twice.

Our small study only confirmed the world data. And despite the fact that the severity of side effects of vaccination is low, remember - the risk of their manifestation does not compare to the experience of getting infected with COVID-19.

Vaccine is your shield!