Thursday, July 7, 2022

What are the side effects of the Covid booster vaccine?

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A nurse being given a Covid booster
Covid boosters are being given out to certain groups of people (Picture: PA)

The NHS has started giving out booster jabs to certain groups at higher risk from Covid, in the hopes of preventing a spike in serious cases this winter.

The booster vaccines aim to give longer-lasting protection, as it’s not yet known how long the initial vaccines last – with care home residents, frontline workers, over 50s and immunosuppressed people aged 60 and over in line for a top-up, whether or not they have had the virus.

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Those receiving the booster will most likely be given a single dose of the Pfizer jab, regardless of which vaccine they had previously – although Moderna might also be given.

Like any vaccine, there could of course be side effects from the booster – but what are they?

What are the side effects of the Covid booster vaccine?

The reported side effects of the Covid booster jab are similar to those experienced after the first and second doses of the vaccine.

According to the NHS website these include:

  • A sore arm where the injection went in
  • Feeling tired
  • A headache
  • Feeling achy
  • Feeling or being sick
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You might also have a high temperature or feel hot or shivery for around one or two days after having the jab.

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According to research conducted by Pfizer on the booster jabs given in the US, the side effects are similar to those from the second dose of its vaccine – and affect younger recipients more.

Their study, which included 300 participants and which they submited to the Food and Drug Administration, found that almost 64% of the participants suffered from fatigue post-jab, while 48.4% had headaches and 39.1% had muscle pain.

However most side effects were short-lived.

The NHS advises you to take paracetamol for side effects if you need to – although if your symptoms get worse or you’re worried, call 111 for advice.

If you become ill with Covid symptoms – such as a new, continuous cough, a high temperature or loss of taste or smell – you should self-isolate and get a PCR test.

Although you cannot catch Covid from your vaccine booster, you may have caught it before, or after your vaccination before it has had the chance to work properly.

Who is eligible for a Covid booster?

People receive Covid-19 booster vaccinations at Midland House, Derb
The boosters may have some mild side effects (Picture: PA)

In June, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) published interim guidance on who should get booster jabs and in which order of priority.

It said that in stage one, a third Covid-19 booster dose and the flu jab should be offered to:

  • People who are immunosuppressed
  • People living in elderly care homes
  • The over-70s
  • People considered clinically extremely vulnerable
  • Frontline health and social care workers

Stage two should include:

  • The over-50s
  • Over-16s who are in a Covid-19 at-risk group or who already qualify for the annual flu jab
  • The adult household contacts of immunosuppressed people

MORE : UK has ‘more cases than rest of Europe because of lack of masks and distancing’

MORE : Deadly Covid and flu double act could sweep through UK as immunity drops

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