In vaccines, it is important to take into account that the benefit is greater than the risk.
 - A.M. Costa Rica illustrative photo -

Published Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Specialists explain possible
contraindications of the vaccine
against covid-19

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff


The Costa Rican government recently announced million-dollar agreements with two biotech companies, AstraZeneca and Pfizer, to purchase the vaccine against covid-19.

Both contracts will allow the development of the vaccination campaign for the majority of the population next year.

Faced with this scenario, specialists from the Drug Information Center of the University of Costa Rica clarify doubts about the cases in which side effects could be generated by the vaccine and the measures to be taken in those cases.

According to Tatiana Cruz González, the vaccines that are close to being approved have some of their components that could cause a serious allergic reaction that puts the patient's life at risk.

Among the possible negative reactions is in people who have severe allergic reactions when consuming eggs.

There are contraindications in certain cases of specific diseases such as encephalopathy or brain disease.

Another possible adverse effect is in the case that the person has recently received the vaccine against whooping cough, also known as pertussis

Other aspects of care are when a child has already been vaccinated and the child has a very high fever with persistent crying after the first covid-19 dose. These cases are few, Cruz said.

Other possible side effects could occur with patients receiving immunoglobulin, plasma or blood transfusion treatment, due to the immune response of the vaccine.

In the case of people with diseases such as HIV, the condition of the patient must be studied, before the application of the vaccine.

In any case of risk for a patient who belongs to the aforementioned groups or who has a chronic disease, the specialist's recommended strategy is that the application is carried out in a hospital where the patient can receive immediate attention in case the person presents symptoms of anaphylaxis or a severe allergic reaction.

For pregnant women, only the so-called "live vaccines" are contraindicated, Cruz said. In this case, the covid-19 vaccines are not of that type so they should not cause harmful side effects.

In the case of people with a fever or undergoing antibiotic therapy, or women who are breastfeeding, the vaccine against covid-19 can be applied.

According to Cruz, the vaccine must be applied considering the care and precautions indicated by the manufacturer.

In vaccines, it is important to take into account that the benefit is greater than the risk, added Cruz. Vaccines are not harmful, as some people think, specialists say.

"Vaccines have substances that allow them to be safe," Cruz added. "These excipients are generally aluminum hydroxide or phosphate, antibiotics, and thimerosal."

These excipients have very important functions. "Aluminum makes the vaccine work better, antibiotics avoid to any of the components negative affects its other components and thimerosal ensure that the vaccine fulfills its function. In low doses these compounds do not harm the person," Cruz said.

According to Cruz, when the vaccination campaign against covid-19 begins, the priority line would be elders, patients with risk factors, health workers, and also children. However, the vaccination campaign priorities will be defined by the health authorities.

According to the World Health Organization, there are currently 47 candidate vaccines under clinical evaluation in phases from 1 to 4. The last phase is when the drug is already on the market.

Most of the centers that are developing these vaccines are in countries such as the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, and China. These vaccines are: Sinovac, Sinopharm (from China), BioNTech / Fosun (from Pfizer), University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, Moderna / NIAID, Jansson Pharmaceutical Companies, CanSino Biological Industry (from China), Gamaleya Research Institute and Novavax.

While scientists continue in their race against time to develop a vaccine against covid-19, health authorities in Costa Rica confirm more cases of deaths and infected patients. The Ministry of Health reported on Tuesday the following statistics of the evolution of the virus in the country:

998 new covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 46,454 active cases

18,744 foreign-born people have been infected with a total of 125,590 cases since March, approximately 15% of the total cases. Of these, authorities confirmed the death of 32 foreign-born patients. But since October, there is no updated information about foreign-born deaths due to covid-19.

• 514 patients are being treated in public hospitals, where 221 patients are in ICU’s in delicate health conditions (ages range from a 1-year-old to a 99-year-old). And 293 patients are in recovery rooms. Many of the remaining infected patients are quarantined in their homes.

• 77,558 coronavirus patients have fully recovered, which is a 61.8% recovery rate of the total cases since March.

1,578 deaths of people infected with covid-19, approximately 1.3% death rate of the total cases since March. Of these 597 women and 981 men. The ages range from a 9-year-old to a 101-year-old person.

Since October authorities stopped providing the number of diagnostic covid-19 tests that have been made.

Readers can see the updated number of total patients in each district at the National Distance Education University on its Covid-19 Map.

According to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering, CSSE, at Johns Hopkins University, the pandemic has killed 1,336,892 people worldwide.

How should the health authorities include the entire population in the vaccination campaign against covid-19? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to


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