UAE Covid vaccine: Don't fear the side-effects, say medics

Dubai - Pain, redness, fever etc are normal after a jab, say doctors.

Illustrative image. KT file photo/Ryan Lim
Illustrative image. KT file photo/Ryan Lim

By Saman Haziq

Published: Mon 22 Mar 2021, 5:48 PM

Vaccine side-effects such as pain, redness, fever etc are normal signs that our bodies are building protection against the virus and are nothing to worry about, medics said.

With the UAE going all out in administering Covid-19 vaccinations to all eligible individuals, doctors are encouraging UAE residents to take the jab without getting anxious about the mild side effects that may occur in some cases. They say these normally subside soon.

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“These side effects may happen after first or second dose since both the doses are the same vaccine,” said Dr. Devika Krishnan Madathil Ponneth, General Practitioner, NMC Royal Hospital, Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi.

She said some of the common side effects included pain, redness, swelling and itching at the vaccination spot on the body. Some other effects such as fever, headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cough, allergy, muscle pain, joint pains and lethargy, may occur later.

“Generally, mild symptoms subside without treatment, but moderate to severe symptoms should be referred to or treated by a medical healthcare provider. Please do not stay sick at home. By visiting the medical healthcare provider, you can get treated for your symptoms and get a reassurance that your symptoms are not serious. In case the effects are serious, you can get treated early, and I would advise one to avoid the second dose if indicated,” she added .

Dubai resident Sherry Gupta who took the dose a month ago said she experienced a headache after taking her first dose of vaccine that was followed by high fever for two days. Giving advice based on her experience, Gupta said: “Family members should book dates one by one. So if anyone has a temporary side-effect of the vaccine, other family members can look after that person,” she said. “Also, as a precautionary measure, make sure that you don’t have any important work lined up for that week. for example unavoidable travel or an exam.”

Dr Ponneth advised people against straining their bodies or doing strenuous work immediately after getting the jab. “Do not strain your body immediately after taking the vaccine; go out only if absolutely necessary, drink plenty of water, eat healthy and sleep adequately. These effects will subside within a day or two.

“If you are medically eligible to take the vaccine, please do not fear the vaccine side effects. We have a strong medical back up to assist and reassure you. The vaccine offers you the benefit of protection from the virus by increasing your immunity against it. Even if you do contract the virus after vaccination, the effect of the disease is treatable,” she said.

Dr. Asmaa Mohamed Abdelaal, specialist clinical pathology at Burjeel Specialty Hospital Sharjah, also reiterated that it is normal to have minor side effects after taking the vaccine. “These side-effects are reported most commonly during the first week after receiving the first dose and are common when taking any type of vaccine.

“All those taking the vaccine should be aware of these minor side effects and need not panic to see these symptoms such as fever, pain, swelling or redness, joint pain, vomiting, shivering, diarrhoea after taking the vaccine. If you experience mild and moderate side effects, take Paracetamol. To relieve pain at the injection site a cold compress can be used.”

However, she added in case symptoms persist for longer, consulting a doctor is important. She also advised people to stay well-hydrated before taking the vaccine.

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