The UK’s vaccination effort is operating at breakneck speed, thanks in part to the decision early on to administer only the first shot for now. Both the Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines require a two-shot regimen to confer maximum resistance. Many questions abound, such as whether the side effects will differ the second time around. Speaking on BBC News on Saturday, virologist Dr Chris Smith was quick to allay concerns, suggesting the side effects should be “fleeting” after the second shot.
Dr Chris was responding to concerns that one could be more prone to painful side effects the second time around if experienced the first time.
“If you’ve made an immune response to the first dose of your vaccine, when you then get the second dose, your body will probably deal with it so quickly that any side effects will be fleeting,” he said.
As a result, Dr Chris anticipates most people will get fewer side effects the second time.
Responding specifically to severe side effects, he suggested the jury is out on whether the experience will be the same the second time around.
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“We don’t know yet if people that get more severe side effects the first time are destined to get more severe side effects the second time or any side effects all,” said Dr Chris.
What are the commonly reported side effects?
The side effects of the vaccines continue to be logged in the COVID Symptom Study app, which analysis and reports on data submissions from its users.
The team behind the app identified some common side effects.
Users reported experiencing pain, swelling, redness or itchiness at the site of the injection, or swelling of the glands (lymph nodes) in the armpit.
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As the team pointed out, 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.
“At the same time, don’t worry if you don’t experience any of these effects after your vaccine,” they said.
“Your immune system will still be learning to respond to the virus – it’s just not making a fuss about it.”
Vaccine rollout latest
Yesterday Matt Hancock announced the rationale behind the next phase of the UK’s vaccine rollout.