As with almost every drug or treatment method, vaccines can cause side effects in some people.
Most of these effects are mild and short-lived.
In the Covid-19 information platform of the Ministry of Health, it is stated that “serious side effects have not been encountered in both clinical studies and current vaccine applications, and the side effects seen after vaccination are often mild”.
Examples of the most common side effects are “fatigue, headache, fever, chills, muscle/joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea, pain in the area where the vaccine was administered, redness, swelling”.
On the website of the Ministry, it is stated, “However, without ignoring the possibility of allergic reactions, it should not be forgotten to apply to the nearest health institution and inform the physician that you have recently been vaccinated in case of discomfort after vaccination.”
What are the side effects of the BioNTech vaccine?
Two different vaccines are used in the vaccination campaign in Turkey. At the beginning of the campaign, the CoronaVac vaccine developed by the Chinese company Sinovac was made.
Later, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was also started. After the shortage of CoronaVac vaccine, the vaccination program gained momentum with the delivery of a large amount of BioNTech vaccine in June.
Currently, BioNTech vaccine is used to a large extent in Turkey.
In the information page prepared by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, possible side effects are listed as “pain, redness and swelling” in the arm where the vaccine is given.
Possible side effects that can be felt throughout the body, listed by the CDC, are:
- muscle pain
- cold sweats
“These side effects may be felt within the first day or two after vaccination. These are normal signs that the body has developed protection and should go away within a few days,” says the CDC.
In the information note prepared by the British National Health Service (NHS) about the vaccine, it is warned that some side effects may be seen in the first two days. The note lists the most common side effects as follows:
- Pain, heaviness, and tenderness in the arm where the vaccine was given
- Headache, muscle pain and cold sweats
The note states, “You may experience flu-like symptoms such as chills on the first day or the second day… A rare side effect may be swelling of the lymph nodes in the armpit or neck on the side where you had the shot. This may take about 10 days. However, if this lasts longer, you should contact your doctor. is recommended”.
What causes side effects?
BBC Health and Science Correspondent James Callagher, in an article he wrote after getting the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in March, stated that the vaccine “knocked him down” but would still get it done anyway.
James Gallagher said: “I was vaccinated with Oxford-AstraZeneca. I had it at 9:30 am. That evening I got worse and didn’t wake up for three days. The worst was migraine and vomiting.
Covid vaccines make our body think it’s fighting the coronavirus. It activates our natural immune response against infection.
First, a reaction occurs in your arm where the injection was made. Swelling and burning sensation is an indication that the immune system is activated.
This can affect your entire body, with flu-like symptoms including fever, chills and nausea.
Professor of immunology and infectious diseases from Edinburgh University. Dr. Eleanor Riley said it was due to the “inflammatory response.”
It works like a chemical fire alarm. The chemicals released into your body are warning you that something is wrong.
prof. According to Riley, this activates the immune response, sending immune cells to your arm to see what’s going on. These chemicals are what make us feel bad temporarily.
Why do some people experience more side effects?
Side effects vary from person to person. Some feel nothing. Some are sluggish but feel well enough to go to work, and some can’t get out of bed.
Leading the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine trials, Prof. Andrew Pollard told me it might have something to do with age:
“The older you are, the fewer side effects you have. People over 70 have almost no side effects.”
But it’s also possible that two people of the same age will react completely differently.
prof. “There’s tremendous genetic variation in our immune systems. That’s where the difference comes from. This diversity makes some people’s immune systems work more ‘hot’ and react more aggressively,” says Riley.
“People like you who have severe flu-like symptoms are overreacting to what’s going on. You may be one of those people who think they’re really bad when they have a cold or flu. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you’re going to be a mint, but you could be one of them,” Riley explains.
Another factor that slightly increases the possibility of side effects is having a previous coronavirus infection. This triggers an incredibly strong immune response after vaccination.
Strongside effects mean I have more protection?
Whereas, I had selfishly thought that having strong side effects, driven by my previous vaccination experiences, meant I had an incredibly strong immune response.
prof. Pollard says that in the flu pandemic in 2009, there were examples where strong side effects indicate a strong immune response, but this is not the case with the Covid vaccine. says.
The answer to this needs to be sought in how the two halves of the immune system work.
Innate response including first half chemical fire alarm. The other half is the adaptive response. This half learns and memorizes how to fight infection by regulating B cells that produce antibodies to find and destroy the virus and T cells that can attack any infected cell in the body.
prof. According to Riley, the innate response varies with age, which determines the severity of side effects, he says.
In order for the adaptive response to protect you fully equipped with B and T cells, it has to be evoked by the innate response.
prof. Pollard states that the second dose will have fewer side effects than the first.
However, published data indicate that more severe side effects may occur with the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine than with the first.
Is it important enough to talk about side effects?
The incidence of blood clots in a small number of people after being vaccinated, the side effects of the vaccine have become more and more in the news.
Before vaccination even started, I drew attention to the risk of mistakenly thinking that health problems that will occur as a result of accident are caused by the vaccine.
The European Union’s pharmaceutical industry regulatory body, the European Medicines Agency, announced that there was no evidence that these cases were caused by the vaccine.
But the vaccine has real side effects, and Prof. Pollard points out that it is necessary to be open and honest about this issue.