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More Than Two-Thirds of Adverse COVID-19 Vaccine Events Are Due to Placebo Effect

Rejected submission by aristarchus at 2022-01-18 20:08:31 from the If you think it will hurt you, . . . dept.

Confirmation bias, psycho-somatic effects, anti-vax hysteria, it's all right here!
Story at Science Tech Daily [].

One-third of clinical trial participants who received no vaccine reported systemic adverse advents like headache and fatigue.

The placebo effect is the well-known phenomenon of a person’s physical or mental health improving after taking a treatment with no pharmacological therapeutic benefit – a sugar pill, or a syringe full of saline, for example. 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 and others argue that non-conscious factors embedded in the patient-physician relationship automatically turn down the volume of symptoms. Sometimes placebo effects can also harm –the so-called “nocebo effect” occurs when a person experiencing unpleasant side effects after taking a treatment with no pharmacological effects. That same sugar pill causing nausea, or that syringe full of saline resulting in fatigue.

False positives? Or positively false?

In a new meta-analysis of randomized, placebo-controlled COVID-19 vaccine trials, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) compared the rates of adverse events reported by participants who received the vaccines to the rates of adverse events reported by those who received a placebo injection containing no vaccine. While the scientists found significantly more trial participants who received the vaccine reported adverse events, nearly a third of participants who received the placebo also reported at least one adverse event, with headache and fatigue being the most common. The team’s findings are published in JAMA Network Open.

“Adverse events after placebo treatment are common in randomized controlled trials,” said lead author Julia W. Haas, PhD, an investigator in the Program in Placebo Studies at BIDMC. “Collecting systematic evidence regarding these nocebo responses in vaccine trials is important for COVID-19 vaccination worldwide, especially because concern about side effects is reported to be a reason for vaccine hesitancy.”

So sad when you avoid the jab, but get the side-effects anyway, just because you are so afraid.

Kaptchuk and colleagues are known for a large and growing body of evidence showing that full disclosure of placebo treatment, what he calls “open label placebo,” can actually improve common chronic conditions without any nocebo effects. While some researchers believe that informing patients about adverse effects may cause harm, Kaptchuk believes it is ethically necessary to fully inform participants about the vaccines’ potential adverse reactions.

“Medicine is based on trust,” said Kaptchuk. “Our findings lead us to suggest that informing the public about the potential for nocebo responses could help reduce worries about COVID-19 vaccination, which might decrease vaccination hesitancy.”

Reference: “Frequency of Adverse Events in the Placebo Arms of COVID-19 Vaccine Trials” 18 January 2022, JAMA Network Open [].

[Note: do not encourage the spread of the back-formation "nocebo". Not a word, and shouldn't be. aristarchus]

Original Submission