Many people may experience fatigue, fever, headache, body ache, nausea and pain, at the site of injection, after receiving a Covid-19 vaccination shot. However, some people might not see a single side effect after the immunisation. So, why is it that some people get side effects after Covid-19 vaccines and some don’t?
First of all, the side effects after the Covid-19 vaccination are common. They are temporary and are signs that the immune system is revving up or your body is building protection — a normal response to vaccines.
Also, not all human bodies show a similar response to a vaccine shot.
Moreover, people might even witness a more intense response after the second dose of vaccine as compared to the first one
When the human body is exposed to an antigen for the first time, it takes time for the immune system to respond and produce antibodies specific to that antigen. Meanwhile, the person is susceptible to becoming ill. The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines “antigen” as the subpart of a pathogen that causes the formation of antibodies. Also, the antibodies produced in response to the pathogen’s antigen after the vaccination are an important part of the immune system.
The immune system has two main arms, and the first kicks in as soon as the body detects a foreign intruder. White blood cells swarm to the site, prompting inflammation responsible for chills, soreness, fatigue and other side effects.
According to news agency Associated Press (AP), this rapid-response step of the immune system tends to wane with age. This is one reason why younger people report side effects more often than older adults.
While some vaccines simply elicit more reactions than others, it is also a fact that everyone reacts differently to a single vaccine.
If you didn’t feel anything a day or two after either dose, that doesn’t mean the vaccine isn’t working.
The vaccine shots also set in motion the second part of one’s immune system, which will provide real protection from the virus by producing antibodies, the AP report said.
According to the US agency Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people may experience pain, redness and swelling on the arm where they received the vaccine shot.
Other side effects include tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, nausea.
As the immune system activates, it also sometimes causes temporary swelling in lymph nodes, such as those under the arm.
Therefore, women are encouraged to schedule routine mammograms ahead of Covid-19 vaccination to avoid a swollen node being mistaken for cancer.
People also occasionally have serious allergic reactions. That’s why one is usually asked to stick around for about 15 minutes after getting any type of Covid-19 vaccine – to ensure any reaction can be promptly treated.
Moreover, side effects after the second shot may be more intense. However, these side effects are normal signs and should go away within a few days.
One should talk to their doctor about taking over-the-counter medicine such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, or antihistamines, in case they experience any pain or discomfort after getting vaccinated.
“It is not recommended you take these medicines before vaccination for the purpose of trying to prevent side effects,” the CDC says.
To reduce pain and discomfort where on the site of injection, one can apply a clean, cool and wet washcloth over the area or can exercise their arm.
One should drink plenty of fluids and dress lightly to gain relief from fever.
One might face difficulty in carrying out daily activities due to these side effects, but there’s no need to panic since they should go away in a few days.
(With inputs from AP)
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