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Coronavirus vaccine update: The after effects can ‘feel a lot like COVID-19 symptoms’

UK secure CureVac deal to develop new coronavirus vaccines

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The over-65s and clinically vulnerable started rolling up their sleeves this week, with more than a million people having already received their invitations to book a jab. Naturally, reports are emerging of the after effects of the vaccine, although none are a cause for concern. The most up-to-date understanding of the after effects and impact of the vaccination can be found in the COVID Study app.

According to the team behind the app, which analyses the data submitted by users, the after effects of vaccination, such as fatigue and headache, can feel a lot like COVID-19 symptoms.

As the team explains, COVID-19 vaccines work by using a harmless version or component of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus to train the immune system, so when we encounter the virus for real we’re able to fight it off.

“This ‘training’ response can feel a bit like the effects we get when we’re fighting off a real infection, including headaches, fever, chills or shivers, tiredness (fatigue), muscle or joint pains, diarrhoea and feeling sick (nausea),” the researchers said.

According to the team, it’s also common to experience pain, swelling, redness or itchiness at the site of the injection, or swelling of the glands (lymph nodes) in the armpit.

“While they may make you feel grotty, all these effects are a sign that your immune system is kicking into action to protect you from COVID-19,” they add.

Are the vaccination programmes having their desired effect?

Although it is too soon to say how the UK public are responding to the ongoing vaccine campaign, data coming from Israel suggests the vaccines are starting to take effect.

Recent data from Israel, which is ahead in the vaccination process, suggests the Pfizer jab prevents 94 percent of symptomatic infections.

This indicates the vaccine is performing just as well in a larger population as it did in the clinical trials.

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These results are highly encouraging and suggests the UK will soon see a similar trend.

It is proving highly effective at preventing illness and severe disease among all age groups, according to public health doctor Prof Hagai Levine.

“High vaccination coverage of the most susceptible groups” was key, he said.

Israel’s largest health fund Clalit examined positive tests in 600,000 vaccinated people and the same number of unvaccinated people, matched by age and health status.

It found 94 percent fewer infections among the vaccinated group.

This was based on test results in people’s medical records, usually taken if they had symptoms or were a close contact of someone who had tested positive.

And the vaccine prevented almost all cases of serious illness.

This pattern was consistent across all age groups – including the over-70s, who may have been under-represented in clinical trials.

When can I expect to receive the vaccine?

The NHS is currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine to people most at risk from coronavirus.

In England, the vaccine is being offered in some hospitals and pharmacies, at local vaccination centres run by GPs and at larger vaccination centres. More centres are opening all the time.

It’s being given to:

  • People aged 65 and over
  • People who are at high risk from coronavirus (clinically extremely vulnerable)
  • People who are at moderate risk from coronavirus (clinically vulnerable)
  • People who live or work in care homes
  • Health and social care workers.

The NHS will let you know when it’s your turn to have the vaccine.

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  • Posted on February 16, 2021