The Pfizer and BioNTech bivalent COVID-19 vaccine has recently been linked to a type of stroke in older adults, according to preliminary data analyzed by US health authorities. Health officials have reported that people over the age of 65 are more likely to have an ischemic stroke 21 days after receiving the bivalent injection. This is compared to receiving the injection between days 22-44. However, officials have emphasized that this safety issue requires further investigation and is highly unlikely to pose a true clinical risk.
Pfizer and BioNTech have released a statement saying that they have been made aware of limited reports of ischemic strokes in people 65 years and older after vaccination with their updated vaccine. However, they have also stated that neither Pfizer, BioNTech, the CDC nor the FDA have observed similar findings in many other monitoring systems in the United States and the rest of the world. There is currently no evidence to conclude that ischemic stroke is associated with the use of COVID-19 vaccines.
It is important to note that this risk issue has not been identified with Moderna’s bivalent vaccine. Both the CDC and the FDA continue to recommend that all persons 6 months of age and older be up-to-date with their immunizations against COVID-19.
The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna bivalent injections, which target both the parent coronavirus and omicron sub-variants, have been licensed for use in children 6 months and older. Further research and studies are still required to fully understand the potential side effects of COVID-19 vaccines. It is important to continue following public health guidelines and recommendations to ensure individual and community safety.