What is the nocebo effect, the cause of 76% of adverse events of the Covid vaccine

La predisposición a las vacunas es un efecto para desarrollar algún efecto secundario a las mismas.


The predisposition to vaccines is an effect to develop some secondary effect to them.

Photo: Alberto Valdes / EFE

Health experts worldwide agree that One of the great “weapons” to combat the Covid pandemic is vaccination, That is why they urge the population to get vaccinated in order to protect themselves and others, ensuring that all vaccines approved by official authorities are safe and effective.

But nevertheless, there is a big anti-vaccine movement that have caused thousands of people around the world to refuse to be immunized against the coronavirus, mainly arguing the speed with which they were made and above all because they know of cases of people who have suffered irreversible side effects after applying them or died of Covid. despite being vaccinated.

It is true that, unfortunately, there were those who could not overcome the disease despite already having full doses or booster shots or because they had developed a health problem related to a side effect of the vaccines; but nevertheless, a study found the main reason that causes the adverse events generally attributed to the anticovid vaccines.

JAMA Network Open recently published a study by scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in the United States, they analyzed data from 12 clinical trials of Covid vaccines and found that the so-called “nocebo effect” (which is the opposite of the well-known placebo effect) it accounted for about 76% of all common adverse reactions after the first dose and nearly 52% after the second dose.

This finding suggests that a significant proportion of mild vaccine side effects (headaches, short-term fatigue, and arm pain) they are not produced precisely by components of the vaccine, but rather by other factors that generate the nocebo response, such as anxiety, expectations, as well as erroneously attributing various ailments to having received the injection.

The placebo effect is a well-known phenomenon that improves a person’s physical or mental health after taking a treatment with no pharmacological therapeutic benefit, for example, a sugar pill or a syringe filled with saline. While the exact biological, psychological, and genetic underpinnings of the placebo effect are not well understood, some theories point to expectations as the primary cause, while others argue that unconscious factors embedded in the doctor-patient relationship automatically reduce the volume of the symptoms.

But sometimes, the placebo effect can also cause harm: it is the nocebo effect, which occurs when a person experiences unpleasant side effects after taking a treatment without pharmacological effects. That is, that same sugar pill that causes nausea, or that syringe filled with saline solution that produces fatigue.

“Collecting the systematic evidence regarding these nocebo responses in vaccine trials is important for Covid-19 vaccination worldwide, especially as concerns about side effects are reported to be a reason not to get vaccinated,” explained Julia W. Haas, one of the lead authors of the study.

In the investigation in which the responses to the vaccines were analyzed, both in the first and second doses of more than 22,000 people, it was found that these nocebo effects occurred much more with the first vaccine than with the second. While the reason for this relative decrease in nocebo effects cannot be confirmed, the researchers believe that the higher rate of adverse events in the first-time vaccine group may have led participants to anticipate more the second time.

“Evidence suggests that this type of information may cause people to mistakenly attribute common daily sensations as vaccine-derived or cause anxiety and worry that make people highly alert to bodily feelings about adverse events,” he added. Haas.

The researchers believe that it is necessary to inform the population about the adverse effects that vaccines could have, since finally, medicine is based on trust and could also help reduce concerns about vaccination.

It may interest you:

* Corbevax vaccine against COVID: what the FDA says, how safe it is and how effective it is
* Moderna is working on the development of a joint vaccine against influenza and COVID, it would be ready in 2023
* “I was anti-vaccine and now I regret it”: the harsh testimony of Indira Jáuregui, a Peruvian who survived the coronavirus

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