Taking the vaccine – DAY 1

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On Sunday March 7th,I was finally afforded the opportunity to receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The process was seamless with the kind staff at the American University of Antigua and the team of volunteers from the Ministry of Health leading the charge.

Normally, nurses will tell you that an injection is like a mosquito bite, and while I normally scuff at the suggestion, it was true. After my 20-minute observation period, I was off to continue my day’s duties.

However, at about 8 that night, about four hours after the shot, I began to experience tenderness at the injection site, a slight headache and fever and muscle aches throughout. In general, I would describe it as the initial feeling one may get if they were coming down with a flu.

By Monday morning, the headache had slightly intensified and was accompanied by muscle aches and a general feeling of being unwell that fluctuated throughout the day.

What to expect after taking the AstraZeneca jab

Deciding to take a Covid-19 vaccine can be difficult without the right information. Uncertainties about the effects of the vaccines on the body can be worrisome.

There are common side effects to expect after getting the shot, many of which represent signs that the vaccine is doing its job to help build immunity against the virus.

In clinical studies for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, most side effects were mild to moderate in nature and resolved within a few days with some still present a week after vaccination.

If side effects such as pain and/or fever are troublesome, medicines containing paracetamol can be taken.

Side effects that occurred during clinical trials with COVID 19 Vaccine AstraZeneca were as follows:

Very Common (may affect more than 1 in 10 people)

  • tenderness, pain, warmth, itching or bruising where the injection is given
  • generally feeling unwell
  • feeling tired (fatigue)
  • chills or feeling feverish
  • headache
  • feeling sick (nausea)
  • joint pain or muscle ache

Common (may affect up to 1 in 10 people)

  • swelling, redness or a lump at the injection site
  • fever
  • being sick (vomiting) or diarrhoea
  • flu-like symptoms, such as high temperature, sore throat, runny nose, cough and chills

Uncommon (may affect up to 1 in 100 people)

  • feeling dizzy
  • decreased appetite
  • abdominal pain
  • enlarged lymph nodes
  • excessive sweating, itchy skin or rash

Not known (cannot be estimated from the available data)

  • severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)

In clinical trials there were very rare reports of events associated with inflammation of the nervous system, which may cause numbness, pins and needles, and/or loss of feeling. However, it is not confirmed whether these events were due to the vaccine.

Some people have reported a sudden feeling of cold with shivering/shaking accompanied by a rise in temperature, possibly with sweating, headache (including migraine-like headaches), nausea, muscle aches and feeling unwell, starting within a day of having the vaccine and usually lasting for a day or two.

If your fever is high and lasts longer than two or three days, or you have other persistent symptoms, this might not be due to side effects of the vaccine and you should follow appropriate advice according to your symptoms.

It is important that you share accurate medical information with the medical professionals at vaccine centres. This information includes information about allergies and prior health complications that will help healthcare providers determine if you are an ideal candidate.

Additionally, while severe reactions are very rare, if you are concerned that you are experiencing such symptoms, you should contact a healthcare provider immediately. (Reference: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulatory-approval-of-covid-19-vaccine-astrazeneca/information-for-uk-recipients-on-covid-19-vaccine-astrazeneca

Covid-19 mythbusters

(courtesy the World Health Organisation (WHO)

1 FACT: Drinking alcohol does not protect you against COVID-19 and can be dangerous

The harmful use of alcohol increases your risk of health problems.

2 FACT: Adding pepper to your soup or other meals DOES NOT prevent or cure COVID-19

Hot peppers in your food, though very tasty, cannot prevent or cure COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself against the new coronavirus is to keep at least 1 metre away from others and to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. It is also beneficial for your general health to maintain a balanced diet, stay well hydrated, exercise regularly and sleep well.

3 FACT: 5G mobile networks DO NOT spread COVID-19

Viruses cannot travel on radio waves/mobile networks. COVID-19 is spreading in many countries that do not have 5G mobile networks.

COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. People can also be infected by touching a contaminated surface and then their eyes, mouth or nose.

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