Feb. 27, 2021
Abstract: As the COVID-19 vaccination campaign unfolds as one of the most rapid and widespread in history, it is important to continuously assess the real world safety of the FDA-authorized vaccines. Curation from large-scale electronic health records (EHRs) allows for near real-time safety evaluations that were not previously possible. Here, we advance context- and sentiment-aware deep neural networks over the multi-state Mayo Clinic enterprise (Minnesota, Arizona, Florida, Wisconsin) for automatically curating the adverse effects mentioned by physicians in over 108,000 EHR clinical notes between December 1st 2020 to February 8th 2021.
We retrospectively compared the clinical notes of 31,069 individuals who received at least one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine to those of 31,069 unvaccinated individuals who were propensity matched by demographics, residential location, and history of prior SARS-CoV-2 testing. We find that vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals were seen in the the clinic at similar rates within 21 days of the first or second actual or assigned vaccination dose (first dose Odds Ratio = 1.13, 95% CI: 1.09-1.16; second dose Odds Ratio = 0.89, 95% CI: 0.84-0.93). Further, the incidence rates of all surveyed adverse effects were similar or lower in vaccinated individuals compared to unvaccinated individuals after either vaccine dose. Finally, the most frequently documented adverse effects within 7 days of each vaccine dose were arthralgia (Dose 1: 0.59%; Dose 2: 0.39%), diarrhea (Dose 1: 0.58%; Dose 2: 0.33%), erythema (Dose 1: 0.51%; Dose 2: 0.31%), myalgia (Dose 1: 0.40%; Dose 2: 0.34%), and fever (Dose 1: 0.27%; Dose 2: 0.31%). These remarkably low frequencies of adverse effects recorded in EHRs versus those derived from active solicitation during clinical trials (arthralgia: 24-46%; erythema: 9.5-14.7%; myalgia: 38-62%; fever: 14.2-15.5%) emphasize the rarity of vaccine-associated adverse effects requiring clinical attention. This rapid and timely analysis of vaccine-related adverse effects from contextually rich EHR notes of 62,138 individuals, which was enabled through a large scale Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered platform, reaffirms the safety and tolerability of the FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines in practice.