Disinformation: Every day at least three persons per vaccination room have a post-vaccination anaphylactic shock in Georgia.
Verdict: FAKE NEWS
Khatuna Saghinashvili, an anti-vaxxer activist, disseminated disinformation about anaphylactic reactions among vaccinated people through social networks. Ms Saghinashvili published a photo (screenshot) of a conversation which says that “after the COVID-19 vaccination, at least three persons per vaccination room have anaphylactic shock every day.” This claim is not true.
FactCheck reached out to the National Centre for Disease Control and Public Heath (NCDC) in order to verify this claim. According to the information provided by the NCDC, “173,345 shots have been administered as of 6 June 2021 and there have only been four (0.002%) cases of registered anaphylactic shock since the beginning of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Georgia. Health workers successfully handled all four confirmed cases of anaphylactic shock and all of the patients recovered. The statistics of the anaphylactic shocks do not include the tragic case in Akhaltsikhe which is still being probed.”
Anaphylactic shock is rare but it is a severe allergic reaction which can be life-threatening if wrongly treated. Anaphylactic shock may be caused by allergy to food, an insect bite or by medication, including vaccines.
The COVID-19 vaccine may spark anaphylactic allergic reactions. However, studies on the different vaccines administered across the world show that systemic allergic reactions to vaccine components are very rare everywhere, including Georgia.
Prior to launching the vaccination programme, Georgia approved a protocol for handling post-vaccination allergic reactions. The protocol pays particular attention to the prevention of immediate and severe anaphylactic reactions, the timely detection of anaphylactic shock and delivering proper and immediate medical assistance. In order to properly assess anaphylactic reaction risks during the vaccination, a special questionnaire was prepared for individuals before administering the shot. A doctor assesses a person’s clinical state based on the answers and makes a decision on the vaccination.
The NCDC clarified with FactCheck that not all allergic reactions are anaphylactic shocks. The first symptoms of anaphylactic shock are a sharp localised reaction, itching, difficult breathing, visible paleness and low blood pressure. Anaphylactic shock during the COVID-19 vaccination process is diagnosed in line with special criteria defined in the authorised guideline.
According to the NCDC’s information, “based on the WHO’s recommendation, a doctor makes a detailed assessment of the patient’s medical records to learn whether or not he has risks of a severe allergic reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine. Health workers of immunisation provider clinics are properly trained to timely detect severe allergic reactions and take immediate measures to treat such reactions. Therefore, it is important that a person give comprehensive information to the doctor before vaccination; particularly, whether or not he has ever had a severe allergic reaction, especially if his medical condition necessitated the administering of adrenaline/epinephrine or hospitalisation.
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