Adverse effects of COVID-19 vaccines and measures to prevent them | COVID-19 疫苗的副作用和預防措施

2022; 19: 100.
Published online 2022 Jun 5. doi: 10.1186/s12985-022-01831-0
PMCID: PMC9167431
PMID: 35659687

Adverse effects of COVID-19 vaccines and measures to prevent them

Associated Data

Data Availability Statement

Abstract

Recently, The Lancet published a study on the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines and the waning of immunity with time. The study showed that immune function among vaccinated individuals 8 months after the administration of two doses of COVID-19 vaccine was lower than that among the unvaccinated individuals. According to European Medicines Agency recommendations, frequent COVID-19 booster shots could adversely affect the immune response and may not be feasible. The decrease in immunity can be caused by several factors such as N1-methylpseudouridine, the spike protein, lipid nanoparticles, antibody-dependent enhancement, and the original antigenic stimulus. These clinical alterations may explain the association reported between COVID-19 vaccination and shingles. As a safety measure, further booster vaccinations should be discontinued. In addition, the date of vaccination should be recorded in the medical record of patients. Several practical measures to prevent a decrease in immunity have been reported. These include limiting the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including acetaminophen to maintain deep body temperature, appropriate use of antibiotics, smoking cessation, stress control, and limiting the use of lipid emulsions, including propofol, which may cause perioperative immunosuppression. In conclusion, COVID-19 vaccination is a major risk factor for infections in critically ill patients.

最近,《柳葉刀》發表了一項關於 COVID-19 疫苗有效性和免疫力隨時間減弱的研究。研究表明,接種兩劑 COVID-19 疫苗 8 個月後,接種者的免疫功能低於未接種者。根據歐洲藥品管理局的建議,頻繁的 COVID-19 加強注射可能會對免疫反應產生不利影響,並且可能不可行。 N1-甲基偽尿苷、刺突蛋白、脂質納米粒、抗體依賴性增強和原始抗原刺激等多種因素均可導致免疫力下降。這些臨床變化可以解釋 COVID-19 疫苗接種與帶狀皰疹之間的關聯。作為一項安全措施,應停止進一步加強疫苗接種。此外,疫苗接種日期應記錄在患者病歷中。已經報導了幾種防止免疫力下降的實際措施。這些措施包括限制使用非甾體抗炎藥,包括對乙酰氨基酚,以維持深部體溫,適當使用抗生素,戒菸,控制壓力,限制使用脂質乳劑,包括丙泊酚,這可能導致圍手術期免疫抑制。總之,COVID-19 疫苗接種是危重患者感染的主要危險因素。

Keywords: COVID-19, Risk factor, Critically ill patients, Vaccination, Vaccine-acquired immunodeficiency syndrome

Dear Editor,

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has led to the widespread use of genetic vaccines, including mRNA and viral vector vaccines. In addition, booster vaccines have been used, but their effectiveness against the highly mutated spike protein of Omicron strains is limited. Recently, The Lancet published a study on the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines and the waning of immunity with time []. The study showed that immune function among vaccinated individuals 8 months after the administration of two doses of COVID-19 vaccine was lower than that among unvaccinated individuals. These findings were more pronounced in older adults and individuals with pre-existing conditions. According to the European Medicines Agency’s recommendations, frequent COVID-19 booster shots could adversely affect the immune response and may not be feasible []. Several countries, including Israel, Chile, and Sweden, are offering the fourth dose to only older adults and other groups rather than to all individuals [].

The decrease in immunity is caused by several factors. First, N1-methylpseudouridine is used as a substitute for uracil in the genetic code. The modified protein may induce the activation of regulatory T cells, resulting in decreased cellular immunity []. Thereby, the spike proteins do not immediately decay following the administration of mRNA vaccines. The spike proteins present on exosomes circulate throughout the body for more than 4 months []. In addition, in vivo studies have shown that lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) accumulate in the liver, spleen, adrenal glands, and ovaries [], and that LNP-encapsulated mRNA is highly inflammatory []. Newly generated antibodies of the spike protein damage the cells and tissues that are primed to produce spike proteins [], and vascular endothelial cells are damaged by spike proteins in the bloodstream []; this may damage the immune system organs such as the adrenal gland. Additionally, antibody-dependent enhancement may occur, wherein infection-enhancing antibodies attenuate the effect of neutralizing antibodies in preventing infection []. The original antigenic sin [], that is, the residual immune memory of the Wuhan-type vaccine may prevent the vaccine from being sufficiently effective against variant strains. These mechanisms may also be involved in the exacerbation of COVID-19.

Some studies suggest a link between COVID-19 vaccines and reactivation of the virus that causes shingles [, ]. This condition is sometimes referred to as vaccine-acquired immunodeficiency syndrome []. Since December 2021, besides COVID-19, Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Okamura Memorial Hospital, Shizuoka, Japan (hereinafter referred to as “the institute”) has encountered cases of infections that are difficult to control. For example, there were several cases of suspected infections due to inflammation after open-heart surgery, which could not be controlled even after several weeks of use of multiple antibiotics. The patients showed signs of being immunocompromised, and there were a few deaths. The risk of infection may increase. Various medical algorithms for evaluating postoperative prognosis may have to be revised in the future. The media have so far concealed the adverse events of vaccine administration, such as vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT), owing to biased propaganda. The institute encounters many cases in which this cause is recognized. These situations have occurred in waves; however, they are yet to be resolved despite the measures implemented to routinely screen patients admitted for surgery for heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) antibodies. Four HIT antibody-positive cases have been confirmed at the institute since the start of vaccination; this frequency of HIT antibody-positive cases has rarely been observed before. Fatal cases due to VITT following the administration of COVID-19 vaccines have also been reported [].

As a safety measure, further booster vaccinations should be discontinued. In addition, the date of vaccination and the time since the last vaccination should be recorded in the medical record of patients. Owing to the lack of awareness of this disease group among physicians and general public in Japan, a history of COVID-19 vaccination is often not documented, as it is in the case of influenza vaccination. The time elapsed since the last COVID-19 vaccination may need to be considered when invasive procedures are required. Several practical measures that can be implemented to prevent a decrease in immunity have been reported []. These include limiting the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including acetaminophen, to maintain deep body temperature, appropriate use of antibiotics, smoking cessation, stress control, and limiting the use of lipid emulsions, including propofol, which may cause perioperative immunosuppression [].

To date, when comparing the advantages and disadvantages of mRNA vaccines, vaccination has been commonly recommended. As the COVID-19 pandemic becomes better controlled, vaccine sequelae are likely to become more apparent. It has been hypothesized that there will be an increase in cardiovascular diseases, especially acute coronary syndromes, caused by the spike proteins in genetic vaccines [, ]. Besides the risk of infections owing to lowered immune functions, there is a possible risk of unknown organ damage caused by the vaccine that has remained hidden without apparent clinical presentations, mainly in the circulatory system. Therefore, careful risk assessments prior to surgery and invasive medical procedures are essential. Randomized controlled trials are further needed to confirm these clinical observations.

In conclusion, COVID-19 vaccination is a major risk factor for infections in critically ill patients.

Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank Editage (www.editage.com) for English language editing.

Abbreviations

COVID-19 Coronavirus disease 2019
HIT Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia
LPN Lipid nanoparticle
VITT Vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia

Author contributions

KY wrote the entire manuscript text and reviewed it. The author read and approved the final manuscript.

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Declarations

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Competing interests

The author declares that he has no competing interests.

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