COVID vaccine: Seven possible side effects of the booster – how to report ‘suspected’ ones

91-year-old Margaret Keenan gets her Covid-19 booster vaccine

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If you suspect you are experiencing a possible side effect of your vaccination, there are also ways that you can report this. If you had serious side effects after any previous dose you may be advised to avoid or delay further vaccination, though it is advised you discuss this with your healthcare professional.

You will be given a booster dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, though in some cases AstraZeneca may be an option if this is the vaccine you had for the first two doses.

There are four common side effects, which are the same for all COVID-19 vaccines used in the UK.

They include having a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm where you had your injection. This tends to be worse around one to two days after the vaccine.

Some people will also feel tired, have a headache, or experience general aches, or mild flu like symptoms.

There are three serious side effects, for which “you should seek medical advice urgently,” according to the UK Government.

If, after vaccination, you experience chest pain, shortness of breath, feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering, or pounding heart, these are considered serious effects.

Nonetheless, the Government guide adds: “There are very few people who should not have a booster. If you have had a severe reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine you should discuss this with your doctor.”

You can also report suspected side effects of vaccines and medicines through the Yellow Card scheme.

The Yellow Card scheme is run by MHRA, which is responsible for continuously monitoring the safety of all medicines and vaccines once they are approved for use.

As of October 6, 2021, for the UK, 120,578 Yellow Cards have been reported for the Pfizer vaccine, 234,410 have been reported for the AstraZeneca vaccine, 16,754 for the Moderna vaccine, and 1,136 have been reported where the brand of the vaccine was not specified.

The clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines have shown them to be effective and acceptably safe.

Nonetheless, the MHRA is responsible for monitoring vaccines to ensure their benefits continue to outweigh any risks.

As the UK Government website notes, most people can rest and take paracetamol to help make you feel better, though if you have any concerns you can call 111.

“Although feeling feverish is not uncommon for two to three days, a high temperature is unusual and may indicate you have COVID-19 or another infection,” it adds.

The COVID-19 vaccination will reduce the chance of you suffering from COVID-19, though it may take a few days for your body to build up some protection from the booster.

If you have not yet had either of your first two doses of the vaccine, the Government is urging you to have them as soon as possible.

You will be offered a booster dose at least six months after you have had your second dose, though protection against severe disease from the first two doses seems to decline very slowly.

Most people who can get a COVID-19 booster vaccine are also eligible for the annual flu vaccine.

If you are offered both vaccines, “it’s safe to have them at the same time”, according to the NHS.

Frontline health or social care workers can book a booster dose appointment online, and do not need to wait to be contacted by the NHS, though others eligible will need to wait to be contacted.

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