Healthy Living | COVID-19 Disease Prevention, Control, and Treatment | 15 Common Side Effects of COVID-19 Vaccines
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How safe and effective are WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines and booster shot?
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends mRNA COVID-19 vaccines for people to take as the safest way of protecting people from getting COVID-19 as the pandemic the sear through the facets of our human society.
More than 10 months of revealed and reported data and life-proofs show the vaccines are safe and effective at preventing serious disease or death due to COVID-19. Additional shots and boosters are also being authorized for certain groups to make the protection even stronger and there is an indication that the booster shot is needed to immune against the current Omicron COVID-19 variant and its predecessor Delta variant.
The vaccines were developed so quickly in the less required time for vaccine development prompting questions and concerns of their safety and effectiveness in preventing the spread of coronavirus. Yes, of course. Are COVID vaccines safe? How safe and effective are WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines and booster shot? Are there risks or safety concerns regarding the COVID vaccines? Are there side effects of COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots? Yes, of course. A handful abounds.
Many who are vaccinated feel okay and do not get infected or re-infected. So, the benefits of being vaccinated are considered much greater than the risks involved even as beliefs and theories of the anti-vaccine (popularly referred to as anti-vax) group on lack of safety of the vaccine refuse to go away, medical and health scientists, researchers and bodies have continued to say that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.
Scientific experts have continued to say that serious or persistent side effects associated with the approved or authorized vaccines are extremely rare for the vast majority of people already vaccinated. While the COVID-19 side effects, in cases of occurrence, are mild, it’s still needful to understand the side effects before you get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Common Side Effects of COVID Vaccines including First and Second Doses and Booster Shot
While millions have been vaccinated globally fully – First and Second Doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as well as booster shots, with only mild side effects, some rare issues have been reported and reviewed.
Side Effects of COVID Vaccines
Side effects of COVID-19 vaccines which people who receive the jab might suffer from include:
1. Pain and Redness, Swelling, Tiny blood spot, and/or Bruising at the injection site (a sore arm from the injection)
2. Blurred vision
3. Tiredness (feeling tired) and Fatigue
4. Headache (feeling achy and pains) which might be severe and persistent
5. Muscle, abdominal, and chest pain
7. Swollen lymph nodes
8. Fever (feeling sick)
11. Pericarditis. Pericarditis – an inflammation of the lining outside the heart.
Myocarditis – an inflammation of the heart muscle. Myocarditis is more likely to occur as a result of COVID-19 infection than as a side effect of the vaccines.
Patients with COVID-19 had nearly 16 times the risk for myocarditis compared with patients who did not have COVID-19, according to a study published by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Myocarditis and pericarditis heart diseases are associated with Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna coronavirus vaccinations and they occur more often in adolescents (teens) and young adults, and in males.
12. Shortness of breath
13. Fast-beating, fluttering, or pounding heartbeat
14. Blood Clots – Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS) with a low level of blood platelets.
A small number of people, mainly adult women younger than age 50, suffered from blood Clots – a serious but treatable Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS) after they received the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine.
15. Allergic reactions of the body in response to the vaccine.
Is there a risk of allergic reaction from the COVID-19 vaccine?
According to the CDC, anyone who has a known severe allergy (e.g., anaphylaxis) to any of the vaccine ingredients should not receive that vaccine, but people with allergies (including food or penicillin allergies) can be vaccinated against COVID-19.
What to do there is allergic reaction from COVID-19 vaccine
The CDC says people with allergies to certain foods, insects, latex, and other common allergens can safely receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Those with a history of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to injectable or other vaccines should discuss the vaccination with their doctor, who can evaluate and assess their risk.
Side Effects of the First Dose of COVID Vaccines
A vaccinated person might experience some temporary symptoms like those you might notice when you get a flu shot, such as a sore, swollen arm where you got the shot after getting vaccinated for COVID-19.
You might run a fever and experience body aches, headaches, and tiredness for a day or two. Chills and swollen lymph nodes can also occur.
The symptoms health experts say are a normal signal that a vaccinated person’s immune system is responding positively to the vaccine and building up protection against the coronavirus and does not imply you are sick even side effects and allergic reactions may affect his ability to carry out his daily activities.
Side Effects of the Second Dose of COVID Vaccines
Side effects after the second shot may be more intense than the ones experienced after the first shot. These side effects are normal signs that the body is building protection and they are expected to go away after a few days of vaccination.
Side Effects of First and Second Doses for COVID-19 Infected and Uninfected People before Vaccination
Side effects of the first dose for people who had contracted COVID-19 before vaccination
Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations involve two injections separated by several weeks and the side effects are different from the first to second jab for the two-dose vaccines.
Gabor Kelen, M.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response, and Lisa Maragakis, M.D., M.P.H., senior director of infection prevention wrote that the first dose of COVID-19 may cause more noticeable side effects for people who have contracted the virus before vaccination than for people who have not had the coronavirus.
Side effects of the second dose for people who had contracted COVID-19 before vaccination
If you have never had COVID-19, you may notice more intense side effects after the second dose than after the first dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. Experts and medical bodies have assured that the side effects would go away within a few days of taking the vaccines and the normal signs that the body experiences while building protection. Rare cases of myocarditis and pericarditis in adolescents and young adults have been reported.
Side Effects of the COVID-19 Booster Vaccine Shot
Does the COVID-19 booster shot have side effects? Of course, COVID-19 booster side effects abound. Hitherto, reported COVID-19 booster shot side effects were similar to those after the two-dose or single-dose primary series. So far, reactions reported after getting a booster shot were similar to those after the two-dose or single-dose primary series. This additional primary dose is intended to improve immunocompromised people’s response to their primary vaccine series
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine both need 2 shots to complete the primary series. The J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine needs a single shot to complete the primary series.
Fever, headache, fatigue, and pain at the injection site were the most commonly reported side effects, and overall, most side effects were mild to moderate. However, as with the two-dose or single-dose primary series, serious side effects are rare but may occur.
Some of the side effects one can experience with COVID-19 booster shot are pain, redness and swelling at or near the injection site, fever, headache, fatigue, and all the other effects listed above.
Side effects are very rare and the cases are mild and resolve quickly
Some individuals who have the shots including the booster might suffer from the following cases which are not only mild but rare and should not last longer
Considering the hundreds of millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses that have been administered, the reports of these side effects are very rare and the cases are mild and resolve quickly as they clear up on their own within 6 weeks.
What to expect after COVID-19 vaccinations
What should one expect to have before taking the COVID-19 vaccine? Expect that you can have some side effects or symptoms which would make you feel sick up to a point that you might be unable to carry out your daily activities for at most one week after vaccination.
These symptoms do not mean you are sick. They signal that your immune system is responding to the shot and building up protection against the coronavirus.
What to do when you experience side effects of COVID-19 vaccinations
1. If a person experiences chest pain, shortness of breath, and has a feeling of fast-beating, fluttering, or pounding heartbeat a few days after having mRNA coronavirus vaccines, he/she should seek medical attention right away.
2. For three weeks after receiving the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Covid-19 vaccine, you should watch for possible symptoms of TTS and get medical help immediately if you have any of these symptoms:
- Severe or persistent headaches or blurred vision
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Leg swelling
- Persistent abdominal pain
- Easy bruising or tiny blood spots under the skin near the injection site
3. Anyone who has had a severe allergic reaction after getting an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), should not get another dose of either of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. Anyone who has had a severe allergic reaction after receiving Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen (J&J/Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine, should not receive another dose of that vaccine.
5. Adults and children ages 5 years and older should get the second shot even if they have side effects after the first shot unless a vaccination provider or doctor says not to get it.
Helpful Tips to Relieve Side Effects
Enroll in v-safe
After vaccination, enroll yourself or your child in v-safe.
V-safe is a free, easy-to-use, and confidential smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after the COVID-19 vaccination. Through v-safe, you can report how you or your child is feeling after getting vaccinated. V-safe also reminds you to get your second dose after getting the first.
Take a painkiller
You may also get a high temperature or feel hot or shivery 1 or 2 days after your vaccination. You can take painkillers such as paracetamol if you need to. If your symptoms get worse or you’re worried, call 111.
Take a COVID-19 PCR Test
If you have a high temperature that lasts longer than 2 days, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, you may have COVID-19. Stay at home and get a PCR test.
Get sufficient rest
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