A Covid-19 vaccine is administered. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)
A Covid-19 vaccine is administered. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

'I have been suffering from severe muscle pain since I got the J&J vaccine'

By Rudolph Nkgadima Time of article published Mar 15, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - “I have been experiencing headaches, severe muscle pain and fatigue since I received the Johnson&Johnson vaccine on February 24,” said a Western Cape healthcare worker, who spoke to IOL on condition of anonymity.

The healthcare worker also claimed she had to pay out of her own pocket to visit a doctor after experiencing adverse side effects lasting longer than the normal 2-3 days.

“My GP had to prescribe me oil which I need to take daily or won’t get through the day and 2 Panados 3 times a day just to survive. How are they doing research if they are not listening to people who got the vaccine?.”

However, according to co-principal investigator of the Johnson&Johnson implementation study, Professor Glenda Gray, some of the severe allergic reactions could have been avoided if healthcare workers were forthcoming about their allergies.

“A lot of healthcare workers are scared that we are going to withhold the vaccine and so they don't tell us and it’s always a catastrophe afterwards. We do need to know if you have allergies, so we can manage the vaccine with you,” said Gray during the Desmond Tutu Health Foundation webinar on Saturday.

“We are not going to withhold a vaccine. We would rather work with you to do it properly and we have had some people, who have had severe allergies who called us before they got the vaccine. We were able to manage that whole process much better. Don't be scared to tell us if you have had any severe allergies from vaccines.”

Speaking at the same webinar, Dr Simbarashe Takuva revealed out of the 145 215 (as of 12 February) vaccinations, about 3 030 adverse events had been reported.

Takavu said some of the common adverse effects reported in the Sisonke implementation study included a small swelling, redness, induration/hardness and a rash. He said they had not seen any adverse events that were of concern.

“If you experience either rash, hives, difficulty breathing or a bad reaction, contact a medical provider. For pain or fever, you may take pain medication like paracetamol or ibuprofen. Apply a cool, wet cloth over the injected area.”

Individuals who are experiencing side effects or adverse effects may report via three different streams which are:

  • The safety desk call centre at 0800 014 956.
  • The electronic adverse report form which is available on the electronic vaccination data system (EVDS).
  • Data is also captured manually from forms that are found at health facilities.

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