Wednesday , 21 April 2021

Have you been vaccinated? Here are the side effects you may experience


A health practitioner administers the coronavirus vaccine to a person at a hospital. Photo: File

Coronavirus is a deadly illness, but the coronavirus vaccines are safe. It is important to remember this as you choose to get a jab of the Chinese-made Sinopharm or CanSino or the Russian-made Sputnik V in the coming days.

Yet, those choosing to get inoculated have reported feeling anxiety. Some have avoided the vaccine altogether as they are unsure about what to expect.

Don’t worry. We are here to get you through this. 

Here is a step-by-step guide on what happens when you get injected:

Are side effects normal?

Mild to moderate side effects are a sign, and a good one, suggesting that a person is building immunity in the body to protect it against the coronavirus.

As per the World Health Organization, side effects indicate that “your immune system is instructing your body to react in certain ways: it increases blood flow so more immune cells can circulate, and it raises your body temperature in order to kill the virus.”

Read more: Pakistan to issue COVID-19 vaccination certificates to travellers, says health official

Side effects, after the first jab include, low-grade fever or muscle aches.

“These are signs that the body’s immune system is responding to the vaccine, specifically the antigen and is gearing up to fight the virus. These side effects usually go away on their own after a few days,” notes WHO.

However, some people have reported experiencing no side effects at all. That doesn’t mean that the vaccine is not working, as different people just have different responses to the vaccine.

What are the common side effects?

Regardless of which vaccine you choose, common after effects include pain at the injection site, fever, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, nausea and diarrhoea.

What are the less common side effects?

As per WHO, after a person gets his/her first jab they must be instructed by the healthcare worker to stay at the vaccination center for 15-30 minutes to monitor for any adverse reactions.

Read more: Here’s a list of coronavirus vaccination centres across Pakistan

Once home, if you experience side effects which last for over three days, such as severe allergic reactions, which are rare, you should report it to your healthcare provider immediately.

Do all vaccines produce similar side effects?

According to Dr Peter Hotez, a vaccinologist and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, the mRNA vaccine produces stronger side effects.

“The mRNA vaccines — the Pfizer and the Moderna — they are what’s called more reactogenic, meaning there are more side effects,” Dr Hotez told CNN.

“They’re not serious side effects, but they can be unpleasant, and they can sometimes last a day or two. Usually they don’t. Usually they last a few hours.”

Read more: Second phase of Pakistan’s coronavirus vaccination drive begins today

Sinopharm, CanSino and Sputnik V, which are currently being administered in Pakistan, are not mRNA based vaccines.

mRNA means a part of the coronavirus’ genetic code is injected into the body. The Chinese vaccine instead uses an inactivated vaccine to trigger a response in the body.

What do you do after experiencing side effects?

According to the US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those experiencing side effects can take over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, or antihistamines, for any pain and discomfort you may experience after getting vaccinated. 

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