Covid vaccine side effects: The lesser-known after effect symptoms caused by the vaccine

James Martin discusses problems getting his coronavirus vaccine

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The unprecedented vaccine rollout effort to help with the Covid pandemic has generated a stream of data about the possible side effects of each vaccine. What are the lesser-known side affects you need to know about?

Swollen lymph nodes

As more people are getting vaccinated, doctors are seeing an influx of women making mammogram appointments after noticing swollen lymph nodes in the arm region where they got vaccinated, according to ABC News.

Two days after getting the second Pfizer vaccine, Julie Mazenko felt a golf-ball size lump in her armpit.

She explained: “It was kind of painful and I touched and noticed that it was full of fluid.”

She then noticed a second swollen node in her neck and a third in the other arm.

READ MORE: Covid vaccine update: Third jab to be offered to over-50s in the autumn

Dr Laura Esserman is the director of UCSF’s Breast Care Center and says Julie is not alone.

They’re getting an influx of calls from women who are confusing swollen lymph nodes after the vaccine for signs of cancer.

“The lymph nodes when they get swollen, if you have an infection, are just doing their job. In the case of a vaccine, they are manufacturing the antibody for your body which is what you want,” said Dr Esserman.

Most people get their vaccine in the shoulder area which is a part of the body with around 20 – 40 lymph nodes in that region.

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Fatigue and headaches

The latest data from ZOE Covid Symptoms Study app looked at self-reported symptoms from 627,383 people after a jab between 8 December and 10 March.

The data found one in four people experience ‘mild, short lived’ side effects that mostly peaked within 24 hours and lasted one or two days.

The most common symptom was a headache, reported by eight percent and 13 percent after the first and second Pfizer dose, and 23 percent after the first AstraZeneca dose.

This was followed by fatigue, among eight percent and 14 percent of participants after the first and Pfizer dose, and 21 percent after the first AstraZeneca dose.

Reported side effects of COVID-19 vaccines have mostly been mild to moderate and have lasted no longer thana few days.

Typical side effects include pain at the injection site, fever, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills and diarrhoea.

The chances of any of these side effects occurring after vaccination differ according to the specific vaccine.

 Individuals should alert their local health providers following vaccination if they experience any unexpected side effects or other health events – such as side effects lasting more than three days.

Less common side effects reported for some COVID-19 vaccines have included severe allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis; however, this reaction is extremely rare. 

Side effects were more likely after the first dose of the AstraZeneca jab – with 13.5 percent of participants reporting symptoms after their first Pfizer dose, 22 percent after the second Pfizer dose and 34 percent after the first AstraZeneca dose, it also found.

Participants who’d previously had Covid-19 were also three times more likely to have side effects after the Pfizer vaccine and twice as likely after the AstraZeneca jab.

In addition, side effects were more common among people under 55 years of age and among women.
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