DOI: 10.3390/ijerph20237123 ISSN: 1660-4601

Safety of Janssen Ad26.COV.S and Astra Zeneca AZD1222 COVID-19 Vaccines among Mobile Phone Users in Malawi: Findings from a National Mobile-Based Syndromic Surveillance Survey, July 2021 to December 2021

Lucky Makonokaya, Lester Kapanda, Godfrey B. Woelk, Annie Chauma-Mwale, Louiser Upile Kalitera, Harrid Nkhoma, Suzgo Zimba, Rachel Chamanga, Cathy Golowa, Rhoderick Machekano, Thulani Maphosa
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

The safety profiles of the Ad26.COV2.S and AZD1222 COVID-19 vaccines have not been described in the general population in Malawi. We present self-reported adverse events (AE) following the receipt of these vaccines in Malawi as part of a national syndromic surveillance survey. We conducted phone-based syndromic surveillance surveys among adults (≥18 years) with verbal consent. We used secure tablets through random digit dialing to select mobile phone numbers and collected data electronically. Survey questions included whether the respondent had received the COVID-19 vaccines, whether they had experienced any AE following vaccination, and the severity of the AE. We used multivariable analysis to identify factors associated with self-reported AE post-COVID-19 vaccination. A total of 11,924 (36.0%) out of 33,150 respondents reported receiving at least one dose of either Ad26.COV2.S or AZD1222 between July–December 2021; of those, 65.1% were female. About 49.2% of the vaccine recipients reported at least one AE, 90.6% of which were mild, and 2.6% were severe. Higher education level and concern about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines were associated with AE self-report (Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR] 2.63 [95% CI 1.96–3.53] and 1.44, [95% CI 1.30–1.61], respectively), while male gender and older age were associated with reduced likelihood of AE self-report (AORs 0.81, [95% CI 0.75–0.88], 0.62 [95% CI 0.50–0.77], respectively). Ad26.COV2.S and AZD1222 vaccines are well-tolerated, with primarily mild and few severe AE among adults living in Malawi. Self-reporting of AE following COVID-19 vaccination is associated with gender, age, education, and concern about the safety of the vaccines. Recognizing these associations is key when designing and implementing COVID-19 vaccination communication messages to increase vaccination coverage.

More from our Archive