Objective: One of the primary reasons for hesitancy in taking COVID-19 vaccines is the fear of side effects. This study primarily aimed to inspect the potential side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines circulated in Bangladesh.Design and Settings.The study was based on a cross-sectional anonymous online survey conducted in December 2021 across Bangladesh.Participants.The study included consenting Bangladeshi individuals aged 12 and above who had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccines.Main Outcome.Analyses were carried out through exploratory analysis, Chi-square test, and logistic regression to investigate potential side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines.
Results: A total of 1,180 vaccinated people participated in the study. Only 39.48% of the participants reported at least one side effect after receiving their COVID-19 vaccine. Injection-site pain, fever, headache, redness/swelling at the injection site, and lethargy were the most commonly reported adverse effects, all of which were mild and lasted 1-3 days. Side effects were most prevalent (about 80%) among individuals who received Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines and were least common among those who received Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines (21%-28%). When compared to the Sinopharm vaccines, the OxfordAstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Moderna vaccines were 4.51 times (95% CI: 2.53-8.04), 5.37 times (95% CI: 2.57-11.22), and 4.28 times (95% CI: 2.28-8.05) likelier to produce side effects. Furthermore, males, those over 50 years old, urban dwellers, smokers, and those with underlying health issues had a considerably increased risk of developing side effects. A lack of confidence in vaccines' efficacy and a substantial level of hesitancy in allowing children (age five years or over) and older people (70 years or over) to receive COVID-19 vaccines were also observed.
Conclusion: Side effects of COVID-19 vaccines are minimal, demonstrating their safety. Efforts should be made to disseminate such findings worldwide to increase vaccine uptake.
Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic; COVID-19 vaccines; Perceptions; Side effects; Vaccine hesitancy; Vaccine misinformation.
© 2022 The Author(s).