What Can You Expect After Your Vaccine?
Reactions vary across the population. The overwhelming majority experience no ill effects. The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) tracks outcomes. Over 285 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through May 24, 2021. During this time, there were 4,863 VAERS reports of death (0.0017%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine.
During December 14–23, 2020, VAERS detected 21 cases of anaphylaxis after administration of a reported 1,893,360 first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (11.1 cases per million doses); 71% of these occurred within 15 minutes of vaccination. An immediate allergic reaction means a reaction within 4 hours of exposure including symptoms such as hives, swelling, or wheezing (respiratory distress). As a precaution, the administering facility may request that you remain 15 minutes following injection for observation.
Non-serious fainting (syncope) and other events that may be related to anxiety like rapid breathing, low blood pressure, numbness, or tingling can happen after getting any vaccine. According to VAERS, there are about 8 fainting events for every 100,000 doses of the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine. Women younger than 50 years old should especially be aware of the rare risk of blood clots with low platelets after vaccination. There are other COVID-19 vaccines available for which this risk has not been seen.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you from getting COVID-19. Following the second injection (first with J&J/Janssen) you may have some side effects that are normal signs that your body is building protection.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has advises against use of the AstraZeneca’s Vaxzevria COVID-19 vaccine in people with a history of capillary leak syndrome. This syndrome is a very rare but serious condition that causes fluid leakage from capillaries, resulting in swelling in the arms and legs, low blood pressure, thickening of the blood, and low blood levels of albumin.
Common Side Effects
On the arm where you got the shot:
Throughout the rest of your body:
- Muscle pain
You may feel like resting in bed during the first few days. The weakness is a good thing, not something to worry much over. Just don’t plan long excursions right away. It takes about two weeks from your final vaccine to build immunity. If you have a condition or are taking medications that weaken your immune system, you might NOT be fully protected even if you are fully vaccinated.
Just like everything else associated with this pandemic, people have opinions about which vaccine is best. The first thing you can expect to hear if you mention you have been vaccinated, is “Which type?” Depending upon your audience, this could lead to a lively debate. So you may choose not to walk that plank.
The ultimate goal is to vaccinate 8 billion people worldwide. There is faster population coverage with a single dose but the majority of vaccines require two doses. Vaccinations, with special passports will reinvigorate international travel.
Though hundreds of millions of vaccinations represent a good start. It is premature to announce a return to normal. The underlying message from healthcare providers is that vaccinations, though a personal decision, are safe for the majority of those who qualify to receive them. The risk of infection without vaccination is greater than the risk of adverse reaction from inoculation.
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- Selected Adverse Events Reported after COVID-19 Vaccination. cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/adverse-events.html Retrieved 7 Jun 2021
- EMA Warns of New AZ Vaccine Side Effect. medscape.com/viewarticle/952972 Retrieved 7 Jun 2021
- Possible Side Effects After Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine. cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/expect/after.html Retrieved 7 Jun 2021
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- When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated. cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html Retrieved 7 Jun 2021
- Tracking Covid-19 vaccines in the US. cnn.com/interactive/2021/health/us-covid-vaccinations/ Retrieved 7 Jun 2021
- EU Digital Covid Certificate: Everything you need to know. cnn.com/travel/article/eu-covid-certificate-travel-explainer/index.html Retrieved 7 Jun 2021
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