Millions across the globe are being vaccinated against the COVID-19 which is obviously a great news as the end of the pandemic is even nearer however, there have been news about some extreme situations whereby recipients of the vaccines were having issues after getting jabbed.
For example, AstraZeneca’s vaccine were said to be causing some rare cases of blood clot in the brain of some recipients in some parts of Europe which led to the campaign being paused for a while in EU countries like Germany, Norway, France, Italy and so forth.
One thing for sure s that just as modern medicine, there is always a side effect to almost all medicines which are either noticeable or not, there is always one. Even though the case of public outcry about some scary side effects might just make you wonder whether you should get vaccinated or not.
As a collective responsibility, getting vaccinated to reach the Heard immunity is really important which will prevent future cases of the illness being spread across your community and therefore businesses fully opening and everything getting back to the ways they were back in the “good ol’ days”.
As stated earlier, there always will be a side effect to any modern medicine but there have been some myths and unconfirmed stories about how dangerous the COVID-19 vaccines are and many conspiracy theories abut its adverse effects on the human body.
But speaking of the most common side effect of being jabbed with either of the three currently available vaccine in the US, you’re definitely going to feel alright in a matter of days after taking it rather than a life altering situation.
That is why I’m putting together a number of things to expect no matter the kind of vaccine you get – Moderna. Johnson & Johnson or Pfizer. I also put together how you can report adverse side effects should anything go wrong as report has it that there are some minorities with adverse side effects which can be life threatening in fact.
General vaccine side effects
I’ll repeat myself again and that’s the fact that all vaccines have side effects ranging from mild to severity with the ones falling in the mild range being local pain, swelling, redness and sometimes bruising at the injection site. There might also be cases of fever and tiredness according to Dr. Roshni Mathew who is a pediatric infectious diseases physician at Stanford Children’s Health.
Another medical expert who supports this is Dr Thomas Duszynski who is the director of epidemiology at Indiana University. He added that some people might experience chills, fatigue or even minor headaches after being jabbed.
With that, you should know it’s normal for your body to react in a way to the content being introduced into it and all this have been tested. However, there might be some extreme situations which needs immediate medical attention such as the case of blood clot in the brain as reported in some recipients in Europe.
Here are some reported COVID-19 vaccine side effects
There have been a number of reported side effects according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – COVID-19 vaccine side effects include:
- Injection site pain
- Injection site swelling
Side effects for Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
Pfizer is the number one on the list because it was among the first to be approved and to be taken seriously by medical associations in different countries across the globe.
According to some official reports by the CDC, those who take the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will experience soreness, redness and swelling at the injection site. There are also situations where people might get chills and fatigue.
The Food and Drug Association (FDA) released a list of other additional side effects to expect when you take Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine which includes muscle pain, joint pain, nausea and swollen lymph nodes.
The FDA notes that most people experienced these side effects after the second dose of the vaccine.
Side effects for Moderna vaccine
As for those that gets the Moderna vaccine, the most common side effects are:
- Injection site pain and swelling
- fatigue and headaches. (more here)
The company also released a summing up the Phase 3 clinical trial analysis, Moderna reported that there were no serious adverse events noted during the trial. However, the worst cases of side effects were reported after the second dose of either the Pfizer or Modernra vaccines both of which are mRNA vaccinations.
Johnson & Johnson vaccine side effects
Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine just got approved recently for emergency use and the vaccine is called the Janssen vaccine which requires a single dose unlike the aforementioned pharmaceutical giants such as Moderna and Pfizer which requires two doses.
The Food and Drug Association (FDA) released a number of side effects to expect when you take the Janssen vaccine and those includes headaches, nausea, fatigue, muscle aches and injection site soreness.
According to clinical trial data, most people experienced these side effects in the one to two days following injection.
Hives were also reported in six clinical trial participants, one of whom received a placebo shot. One “hypersensitivity reaction, not classified as anaphylaxis,” was reported and deemed likely related to the vaccine.
Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine side effects
And as far as the United States is concerned, the vaccine has not yet gotten emergency use authorization from the FDA but in countries where the COVID-19 vaccine was approved released a number of side effects.
In the clinical trial results published in The Lancet, mild to moderate side effects from the AstraZeneca vaccine were similar to mild side effects from the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Of note, the AstraZeneca vaccine trial was put on hold after a volunteer developed neurological disorder symptoms.
Trials resumed after a safety review confirmed the symptoms were unrelated to the vaccine. It’s not uncommon for clinical trials to pause for safety reviews, as illnesses can occur by chance during large, long-term studies.
But not just these four vaccines are currently being worked on as there are a number of others that haven’t either gotten approved by the FDA or still in clinical trials. But common side effects in all of them includes injection site pain and swelling, fever, fatigue, headaches, chills and nausea — nothing abnormal.
How do I report COVID-19 vaccine side effects
In the cases of severe cases of side effects, it might be really important to make a report to the CDC in order to further continue a good track record on how to help improve the future guidance for recipients of the vaccines.
V-Safe After Vaccination Health Checker is a tool that uses messaging and survey functions to automatically check in on people after they get vaccinated. You can sign up for V-Safe on your smartphone after getting the vaccine.
You’ll then need your vaccine info handy, including which type of vaccine you received and the date and time you received it. Using the chat function, you can tell the tool your side effects. Someone from the CDC may call you and ask for more information if you report severe or unusual side effects.
What are the Severe side effects
There have been reports of severe side effects from either of the aforementioned vaccines and were also documented by the CDC and the FDA. For example, there were cases of two individuals in the UK with known severe allergies who therefore suffered serious allergic reactions after taking the COVID-19 vaccine – both recovered from it.
There was another case of an health care worker in Alaska back in Dec. 15th who was said to have had a severe allergic reaction to the Pfizer vaccine but recovered from it despite the fact that she had no previous allergic reactions to vaccines.
During the Pfizer clinical trials, no severe allergic reactions were reported among the 40,000-plus trial volunteers. Although severe allergic reactions are likely to be rare, “It would be important for individuals with known allergies to speak with their health care provider prior to receiving the vaccine,” Duszynski says.
However, the CDC made recommendations of a thorough risk assessment and potential deferral of the vaccine for those with a history of severe allergies to other vaccines as well as avoidance of vaccination by those with a history of severe allergies to any ingredient in the COVID-19 vaccines.
Some serious adverse events have been reported from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, including severe arm pain at and around the injection site that lasted for 74 days in one patient, as well as severe fatigue and weakness lasting three days in one patient.
The FDA says these events are likely related to the vaccine, but that they did not occur at frequencies higher during clinical trials than what’s probable for the general population (in other words, it’s nothing to be alarmed about).
COVID-19 vaccine and Bell’s Palsy
This won’t be the first time of such report as the first was an alarm raised via social media platforms about four individuals who participated in the clinical trials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine. They were reported to have developed a condition known as Bell’s Palsy.
And in case you’re wondering what this is, it involves temporary weakness or paralysis in the facial muscles which let’s be serious doesn’t sound nice at all. However, the four reported cases recovered from the condition within weeks to three months.
The FDA briefing on the Pfizer vaccine reports “the four cases in the vaccine group do not represent a frequency above that expected in the general population,” so no causal relationship can be determined. The FDA is continuing to monitor for cases of Bell’s Palsy as the vaccine is distributed more widely.
Reasons vaccines haves side effects?
I made mention of the fact that most medicines have some sort of side effects which are due to the fact that the body is being kicked to take action against something within its system.
For example, side effects like fever, chills and fatigue indicates that the immune system is responding to the vaccine according to Dr. Duszynski.
“Even if you don’t experience these [side effects], it does not mean that your immune system isn’t working; it is just working a little more quietly,” he says.
As for bruising, swelling and sensitivity at the injection site, well, your body would likely respond similarly after a needle punctured your skin for any other purpose. These side effects can occur after any vaccine, as well as when people get blood drawn or receive steroid shots or vitamin injections.
How long does a typical vaccine side effects last?
On the average, the number of days a vaccine side effect lasts can be within days and few weeks however, some people might experience side effects that can lat for weeks or even a couple of months.
Side effects that were related directly to the injection site, like bruising and redness, should subside relatively quickly, while whole-body side effects like fever and headache may last longer.
If you’re still having side effects a week or more after you get a vaccine — COVID-19 or otherwise — call your doctor or go to urgent care. If you feel the effects are life-threatening (like a severe allergic reaction), seek emergency medical care right away.
What are chances of developing long-term side effects from the COVID-19 vaccines?
The vaccines are still new and we barely know everything about them however, there is also no documented report about a long-term side effects. Experts also assured that the vaccines are safe with bigger health institutions such as the CDC, WHO and FDA constantly monitoring cases of long-term side effects of the vaccine if there is any.