Adverse effects of vaccinations against the Corona-virus SARS-CoV-2: insights and hindsights from a statistical perspective

Vaccinations against the virus SARS-CoV-2 have proven to be most effective against a severe corona disease. However, a significant minority of people is still critical of such a vaccination or even strictly reject it. One but surely not the only reason for this is the fear of undesired adverse effects. During the year 2021 in Germany alone approximately 150 million vaccination doses have been applied. This should be a solid basis to assess the risk of adverse effects of corona vaccinations. Based on publicly available data, especially from the German Federal Institute of Vaccines and Biomedicines (Paul-Ehrlich-Institut) and further scientific publications from Europe, Israel and the United States, this paper tries to give sound quantitative statements on the risk of (severe) adverse effects (e.g. myocarditis, thrombosis and thrombocytopenia, venous thrombosis, including cerebral venous sinus thrombosis and fatalities based thereon) of the various vaccination types, i.e. Comirnaty, Vaxzevria, Janssen and the Spikevax Covid-19 vaccine. The paper also describes some quite serious concerns about the lack of details in the publicly available data and the variations in the structure of reports from the primary source that prohibit even simple time series comparisons. However, from an overarching view all provided vaccines are pretty safe and fall mostly into the same frequency categories with respect to various clusters of undesired complications. Nevertheless there are statistically significant differences amongst the four vaccines which indicate that Vaxzevria is according to some important aspects only the second best preferable choice. The paper aims to support a rational approach regarding the confidence in the widely available SARS-CoV-2 vaccines through a purely statistical investigation of the number of adverse effects in an unbiased manner.


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