What are the side effects of the Covid vaccine? Possible long and short term reactions - and why you shouldn’t worry

As the nation prepares to start distributing the recently developed Covid-19 vaccinations, some might be concerned about possible side effects after receiving one

The Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines have all announced successful trials over the last two weeks, with all three saying that they found no major side effects.

However, it is likely that many people will feel some effects after having the vaccination. Dr Sandara Fryhofer, from the American Medical Association, has said that patients need to be aware “this is not going to be a walk in the park”.

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Here’s what you need to know about what to expect after getting vaccinated.

After getting a vaccination, people will often feel an unpleasant and temporary reaction as a side effect

Why do we feel side effects after vaccinations?

After getting a vaccination, people will often feel an unpleasant and temporary reaction as a side effect.

Vaccines teach your body’s immune system to recognise and fight an infection they have been designed to protect against.

Feeling poorly after getting a vaccination is the body’s normal response to the entrance of the inactivated virus in the vaccine.

Dr Nisha Phillip, a lecturer in infection at the University of Edinburgh, said that a number of factors could cause vaccine side effects and that they are usually mild, while adverse reactions are extremely rare.

She added that some of the factors could be from “the actual injection, including soreness at the site of injection, immune reaction to the weakened virus, or an allergic reaction, which is very rare.”

What are typical side effects to a flu vaccine?

The flu vaccine is offered every year on the NHS to help people at risk of infection.

Flu vaccines are very safe and all adult flu vaccines are given by injection in the muscle of the upper arm. The vaccine does carry some side effects, but these are mild and only last for a day or so.

Common symptoms include a slightly raised temperature, muscle aches and a sore arm where the needle went in.

Will the Covid vaccine side effects be similar to flu?

Side effects to the Covid vaccine are similar to the flu vaccine.

Dr Phillip explained that “scientists and various health care bodies are monitoring the potential side-effects, and before it is rolled out to the public, the vaccine will undergo rigorous testing.”

People will likely get a sore arm at the site of the injection itself, but symptoms will subside in a couple of days.

What happens if I get Covid symptoms after the vaccine?

With the likely side effects from the Covid vaccination similar to the flu jab, people may experience side effects similar to those recognised as covid-19 symptoms.

However, it is important to remember that the symptoms are shared with many conditions and are not specific to coronavirus.

Dr Phillip explained that the symptoms of headache and fatigue were “reported in less than 10 per cent of the recipients in the Pfizer and Modena vaccine trials.”

She added: “The Oxford vaccine recipients also reported at least one of the symptoms, fever, headache and fatigue.

“However, in the majority of the cases the symptoms lasted less than three days, and all cleared within a week.”

Should I worry about potential side effects from the Covid vaccine?

Data is still being generated and despite the latest development on the success rate of the vaccine, people should keep an eye out for more developments to be published.

Dr Phillip said: “People should keep up to date with the latest information being released. The Government will begin mass vaccination only after robust safety studies have been performed.”

If you have concerns prior to vaccination Dr Phillip advises that people speak to their GP regarding the latest safety information and their individual circumstances.