Common side-effects to expect from coronavirus vaccination

There is no evidence that the vaccine causes blood clots in vaccinated people 

Lhakpa Tshering

As the nation gears up for widespread vaccination against Covid-19 on 27 March, many people are still ambivalent, because while they want to protect themselves against infection, they fear possible side-effects from the jab.

Despite some European governments pausing the use of the AstraZeneca shots concerning blood clots occurring in vaccinated people, the government and the health experts have been stressing how safe the coronavirus vaccines are.

However, like any medication, including vitamins, vaccines can cause temporary side effects and reactions that are common – injection site tenderness or pain, fever, headache, fatigue, myalgia, pyrexia, arthralgia, nausea, and chills, among others.

The head of the Royal Centre for Disease Control (RCDC), Dr Sonam Wangchuk, said there is no evidence the jabs caused the blood clots and the common side-effects are normally nothing to worry about. “After being vaccinated, it is common to have certain reactions with most vaccinations,” he said.

When health problems develop soon after vaccination, people tend to blame the vaccine cast doubt on a vaccine. But don’t worry. He said it shows that the vaccine is working as the immune system paying attention. “This is the body’s natural response to any vaccine,” he added.

It comes that the most common – normally one person in 10 – side-effects experienced by some recipients are headache, nausea, myalgia, arthralgia, fatigue, malaise, pyrexia, chills, and injection site: pain, tenderness, warmth, erythema, pruritus, swelling, and bruising.

Vomiting, injection site induration, influenza-like illness is normally common for one person in 100 recipients while one person in 1,000 recipients may experience lymphadenopathy, decreased appetite, dizziness, abdominal pain, hyperhidrosis, pruritus, and rash that are uncommon.

Dr Sonam Wangchuk said most of the adverse reactions were mild to moderate in severity and usually resolved within few days of vaccination. “Adverse reactions reported after the second doses were milder and less frequent,” he said.

Questions, suspicions, rumors, and concerns about vaccines are rampant. Even though the coronavirus vaccines were developed in such a short time than other vaccines in the past, he said, it has been carefully tested in large clinical trials and continue to be monitored.

Continuous monitoring and benefits of vaccination

If experienced, the common side-effects can last a few hours to a few days after vaccination. Even after being vaccinated, they will be still monitored for safety and deal with them quickly.

Sangay Phuntsho, who is a vaccine-preventable disease program officer, said that the health care provider and support team will ask the jab recipients to stay in the clinic for at least mandatory 30-minutes after vaccination with the time written on the dorsum of the left hand.

This is to monitor for reactions and report immediately any adverse reactions or complaints to the health worker with systems in place to track problems or side effects. “They will be managed in a separate room,” he said. “They will also advise clients to seek medical care for any post-vaccination complaints.”

As the pandemic rages on, vaccination is one of the most essential ways to help protect against coronavirus and prevent the spread. As more people are vaccinated, people will be able to gradually return to a more normal routine.

Sangay Phuntsho said getting a vaccine is an important public health intervention to contain the Covid-19 outbreak and pandemic. “It will protect by producing antibodies inside your body to fight Covid-19, thereby, preventing from falling sick,” he said.

Among others, he added vaccination will prevent from getting seriously ill, if you happen to get Covid-19 and also protect people around you, particularly people who are vulnerable to severe illness from Covid-19,” he said.