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3 adverse reactions to Taiwan's Medigen suspected cases of needle phobia

American woman faints immediately after vaccination, goes home 20 minutes later

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Medical staff tending to patient after they fainted. (Da You Junior High School vaccination station photo)

Medical staff tending to patient after they fainted. (Da You Junior High School vaccination station photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Three adverse reactions to Taiwan's domestic COVID-19 vaccine developed by Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp. (高端疫苗, MVC) are suspected to have been caused by anxiety.

On Monday (Aug. 23), inoculations of the Medigen vaccine opened to the public for the first time. While becoming the first to receive the jab on Monday, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) was perfectly calm throughout the process, gave the thumbs up after it was complete, and said she "didn't feel anything" during the injection.

During a press conference that afternoon, Health Minister and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) stated that there had been three suspected adverse reactions following Medigen vaccinations that morning. He said they included two women and one man ranging in age from their 20s to 40s.

There were two incidents reported at the Da You Junior High School vaccination station in Taoyuan City's Taoyuan District, one of 36 venues providing vaccinations that morning. In one case, an American woman in her 30s passed out for about three minutes after being vaccinated at 10:45 a.m. but swiftly regained consciousness.

Her blood pressure was found to be 111/79, and she had a heart rate of 122 beats per minute (BPM). Staff called for an ambulance and when EMTs arrived on the scene, they assessed that the woman's vital signs were stable.

The woman stated that she was no longer in any discomfort and did not wish to be hospitalized. A physician on the scene determined that she was in good condition and after resting and undergoing observation, she returned to her home at 11:05 p.m.

According to Chen, the second case at the school was a 47-year-old man who after the vaccination began experiencing shortness of breath and nausea, followed by paralysis. His blood pressure was also approximately 111/79 with a heart rate of 122 (BPM).

Doctors evaluated his condition and called for an ambulance, which rushed him to the Taoyuan branch of the Taipei Veterans General Hospital. An electrocardiogram and blood test came back normal, and he was released from the hospital at around noon.

3 adverse reactions to Taiwan's Medigen suspected cases of needle phobia
Medical staff tending to vaccine recipient after they fainted. (Da You Junior High School vaccination station photo)

In the third incident that day, a 26-year-old woman fainted after being inoculated at Zhongyuan Elementary School's vaccination station in New Taipei City's Sanxia District. Her blood pressure was found to be 116/74, with a heart rate of 110 BPM.

After an on-site assessment, she was sent to Taiwan Landseed Hospital in Taoyuan City's Pingzhen District. An electrocardiogram and blood test came back normal, and she was discharged from the hospital at 12:20 p.m.

Chen concluded that given the low blood pressure and high heart rate, the three incidents were likely a case of needle phobia and not a reaction to the vaccine itself. He called on the public to try not to get too nervous because the current needles are actually very thin and the nurses are highly skilled with their injection technique.

He pointed out that in many cases, like Tsai, many recipients hardly feel anything. On the other hand, Chen urged people with chronic diseases in unstable conditions to wait until their symptoms stabilize before taking any vaccine.

In response to the incidents, the Facebook page MedPartnerTW wrote that passing out immediately after an injection is more likely due to fear of needles. The post's author argued, "No side effects can occur so fast. Only people hit by blowgun darts can pass out that quickly."

Taoyuan City Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) said an estimated 53,000 people would be vaccinated with the Medigen jab that day. He said that approximately 90% of people who had registered for the vaccine were in attendance.