Covid-19 vaccine side effects: What to do if you have them

By Kelly Jane Turner Time of article published May 21, 2021

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Phase 2 of South Africa’s vaccine roll-out has seen close to 117 000 people over the age of 60 receive the shot.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Thursday that those who experience side effects after receiving the vaccine should report it.

He said the no-fault compensation fund would cover any adverse side effect costs should there be a need for anyone to be compensated.

“We wish to assert our position as government that all adverse events arising from the inoculation of a Covid-19 vaccine should be reported.

“This can be done either directly to a health-care worker; or by calling the Covid-19 hotline (0800 029 999); or by engaging SAHPRA’s Med Safety App.”

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said mild side effects are common after people receive any type of vaccine and it could indicate that a person’s body is building protection through the production of antibodies.

At most, the NICD said side effects could last up to a week but usually people fully recovered after 2-3 days.

Some of the most common mild side effects include:

  • Pain, swelling, or redness where the vaccine was injected
  • Mild fever
  • Chills
  • Feeling tired
  • Headache
  • Muscle and joint aches

Some of the less common side effects include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of the face and throat
  • A fast heartbeat
  • A bad rash all over your body
  • Dizziness and weakness

If a vaccinated individual experiences lasting and worrying symptoms or if the redness or tenderness at the injection site worsens after a day, they are encouraged to seek care immediately.

They can go to an emergency unit and a blood test will check if their platelets are low.

The Sisonke Safety team of doctors are available 24/7 and can be contacted at 0800 014 956.

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