As Singapore continues our COVID-19 vaccination drive, most of us will already have received a notification to sign up for our first dose of the vaccine. Apart from efficacy, the one thing we’re probably all curious about is the COVID-19 vaccine side effects, after taking our shot. We may have heard stories from our parents or friends who already have been vaccinated.
We have compiled the most important things you need to know about vaccination side effects, how to treat them, and when you should seek medical assistance.
Your Questions on COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects, Answered
What are possible side effects of taking the vaccine?
Common side effects include: pain, redness and swelling at the injection site; headache; muscle or joint pain; fever and/or chills; tiredness; and even, lymph node swelling at your arms or neck. All these side effects tend to be mild to moderate.
Although they may be annoying, these side effects should not pose any harm to your health. They should go away in a few days (or in a week, for lymph node swelling) with adequate rest.
And, just so we’re clear, you will not contract COVID-19 from taking the vaccine.
When should I be worried about the side effects?
Should you develop a fever for more than 48 hours (or 2 days) or if your side effects seem to be getting worse, do see a doctor for a check-up.
You should seek immediate medical attention if you’re experiencing any of the below side effects:
- An allergic reaction; which may include swelling of your eyes or lips; breaking out into hives and rashes
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Abnormal heartbeats
If you suffer from any of the above side effects after the first dose, it’s likely that you’ll be unable to receive any further doses of the vaccine, as a precaution for your health.
Who is more likely to suffer from side effects?
During the clinical trials for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, it was noticed that younger adults were more likely to experience side effects compared to older adults; and that side effects were more common after the second dose than the first. This has also been observed anecdotally by local doctors as well.
According to experts, side effects are more common amongst individuals with a more robust immune system. This is because the side effects are due to our immune systems reacting to the vaccination.
However, if you don’t experience any side effects, don’t worry either! You’ll be protected equally, as the onset of side effects is not correlated with the effectiveness of the vaccine.
How can I reduce the side effects?
MOH recommends taking 1 – 2 paracetamol tablets every 6 hours, should you be suffering from aches or fever after the vaccination. Apart from that, the best way to feel better after vaccination is to get plenty of rest and to hydrate yourself.
Take it easy for the few days after your jab so that your immune system can peacefully get to work. We have some suggestions on how you can spend your time at home while resting, although skip the workouts. Make sure you cut back on strenuous physical activities for at least a week after your jab, just as a precautionary measure as well.
Most of us will only suffer from mild side effects that will pass in a day, and it’s nothing to worry about! As such, remember to register for your vaccine shot as soon as you’re eligible. It’s important that enough residents are vaccinated, to help manage the COVID-19 pandemic in Singapore.
Should you be feeling unwell, you can video-call our doctors 24/7 via the DA app, without stepping out of your home. Medication delivery in three hours, all at your convenience.