COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects

Like any medication that someone might be prescribed, people will no doubt have questions about any potential side effects that may be attributed to them. That is also no different when it comes to the vaccines that are available to help prevent COVID-19. While there are certain risks that have been associated with the vaccines — most notably AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, where there have been reported cases of rare blood clots associated with both — the vaccines are, overall, generally well-tolerated, and health officials worldwide continue to watch for any reports of adverse events associated with these particular vaccines (in addition to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines) and act accordingly.

When it comes to side effects associated with the COVID vaccines, this is not unheard of. In fact, it’s more common to experience mild side effects as a result of receiving a vaccine than not. Among some of the most common side effects associated with the COVID-19 vaccines include:

* Pain or swelling around the site of injection
* Mild fever and/or chills
* Nausea and/or vomiting
* Headache
* General body aches and pains

These symptoms will usually develop within the first day or two following your vaccination and will typically last for up to 2 or 3 days (although in some cases they may last longer.) These symptoms are nothing to be alarmed about and are a sign that your body recognizes the vaccine and is developing an immune response — in other words, it’s doing what it is supposed to be doing. If you received the Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca vaccine, you will also be required to receive a second dose for adequate protection from COVID-19. As such, you can expect to experience these same symptoms following your booster shot. However, it’s not uncommon for symptoms to be more intense after receiving the second vaccination. This is because the body’s immune response following the first dose is usually quite strong — and, as a result, the cells in your body are already prepared to respond. That being said, not everyone will develop side effects to the vaccine — however, this doesn’t mean that your immune system is not responding. Whether someone does or doesn’t develop side effects generally depends on how robust one’s immune system already is. For example, a younger person’s immune system tends to be more robust than that of someone who is elderly — therefore, side effects may be felt as a result.

If your side effects persist after 7 days, you should consult with your physician. Furthermore, while these mild, temporary flu-like symptoms are to be expected, COVID-19 vaccines do not cause side-effects such as sore throat, couching, or chest pain — and these could be indicators of another illness, such as a viral infection, or even COVID-19 itself. As it takes several weeks for your body to become protected by the vaccine, it’s still possible to develop COVID-19 even after you’ve been vaccinated. Therefore, if you are experiencing any other symptoms, you should book a COVID-19 test and self-isolate until you receive your results and are symptom-free.

Originally published at https://alighahary.ca on April 13, 2021.

Dr. Ali Ghahary is a Family Physician in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. http://www.alighahary.ca

Dr. Ali Ghahary is a Family Physician in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. http://www.alighahary.ca