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Govt quizzed on tracking vaccine side effects

The GHA has been keeping a record of side effects caused by the Covid-19 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine but there is “no intention” to make this information public as it is medically confidential, the Minister for Health, Samantha Sacramento, told Parliament on Wednesday. 

She said a report will be made available on this once “enough time has lapsed from the administration of the vaccine” and a proper analysis of the side effects had been carried out. 

In response to questions put to her by Together Gibraltar leader Marlene Hassan Nahon, Ms Sacramento said minor side effects are recorded in the patient’s electronic record, but serious side effects are also recorded on the Yellow Card Scheme to regulatory authorities. 

Ms Hassan Nahon questioned what confidential information would be breached by offering further information on this, as generic information is available when people test positive for the virus. 

The Leader of the Opposition, Keith Azopardi, questioned what yardstick was being used to measure the “parameters of seriousness,” adding that side effects could only be logged if people came forward with them. 

Ms Sacramento said a standardised tool was used based on the symptoms of the side effect. 

In addition, the Director for Public Health undertook a study and people were contacted after being administered with the vaccine. 

She said that at the time when the vaccines were rolled out, there was literature that contained information about possible side effects.

The study focused instead on longer-term complications. 

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