Are you afraid of the side effects of the Covid-19 vaccine ?

side effects

Just had the Covid-19 vaccine? Or, afraid to take it because of what might happen?

COVID-19 vaccines are safe, and getting vaccinated will help protect you against developing severe COVID-19 and dying. It will also help us all gain herd immunity and prevent new variants from emerging prolonging the cycle of disease.

You may experience some mild side effects after getting vaccinated, which are signs that your body is building protection. Some people have no side effects. Let’s understand these side effects, and debunk the myths now!

In this article:

Side effects are common

Here’s what to look out for:

  • Arm is sore or red at the injected site
  • Fever / Chills
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea

Treatment: Panado is the GP’s choice! Drs advise to take a panado after receiving the vaccine – please consult with your doctor first. A cotton wool swab dipped in boiled water can be placed on the vaccination site to relieve pain.

Vaccines are designed to give you immunity without the dangers of getting the disease. Side effects occur  because your immune system is instructing your body to react in certain ways: it increases blood flow so more immune cells can circulate, and it raises your body temperature in order to kill the virus.

Rare Side Effects of the Covid-19 Vaccine

Allergy is rare. Perhaps you have a mild allergic reaction like a rash that gets better by itself. Severe allergic reactions are extremely rare. Other rare side effects include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of the face and throat
  • A fast heartbeat
  • Dizziness and weakness

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises people to be monitored for 15 minutes after vaccination, and those with a history of other allergies for 30 minutes, so they can be monitored and treated immediately if they have a reaction.

Should a person take a second dose if the first dose caused side effects?

If the side effects following the first dose were mild or moderate, a person should have the second vaccination. However, if there was a severe allergic reaction to the first dose, then the second dose isn’t advisable. Please discuss the various options available with your doctor.

side effects of covid vaccine

Vaccines and Blood Clotting

A blood clot that develops after vaccination is called a Vaccine Induced Thrombosis. The most serious of these clots tend to occur in large veins in the brain and abdomen while the platelets (that would normally be part of the clotting process) drop dangerously low as well. This is called Vaccine Induced Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia. It is an extremely rare condition, but local experts and treatments are available.

Symptoms include:

  • Severe headache that does not go away. It may occur with blurred vision, vomiting, weakness on one side of the body or difficulty speaking.
  • Severe abdominal pain that does not go away. It may be associated with vomiting.
  • A rash of tiny red spots might occur under the skin around the injection site.
  • Leg pain or swelling.
  • Chest pain or shortness of breath.

If you get any of  the above symptoms, act without delay:

  1. Seek care immediately. Go to an emergency unit, tell the doctor when you were vaccinated and take any medication that you have been taking with you.
  2. A blood test will check if your platelets are low.

When to Contact the Covid-19 hotline 0800 029 999:

  1. You develop an allergic reaction, even if it is mild.
  2. Vaccine side effects get worse or do not resolve after 3 days
  3. You test positive for Covid-19.
  4. You are admitted to hospital for any reason.
  5. You become pregnant within 3months of receiving the vaccine
  6. You need a Covis-19 antibody test.
  7. You participate in another study.

Don’t confuse vaccine side effects with Covid-19 symptoms!

  1. If your fever lasts more than 2 days or you develop a continuous cough, sore throat or changes in your ability to taste or smell after your vaccination, you may have Covid-19.
  2. Isolate yourself and arrange to get a Covid test. Contact your healthcare provider and the Covid-19 hotline.

Even if you do get Covid-19 it is very unlikely that you will get severely ill or die from Covid-19.

You might still get Covid-19, after receiving the vaccine.

  • No vaccine is 100% effective. However, you CANNOT catch Covid-19 from the vaccine as there is no live Coronavirus in it.
  • You may have caught Covid-19 before getting vaccinated (remember it can take up to 14 days to present symptoms)
  • You may catch Covid-19 in the 2 weeks following the vaccine, as your immune system is still training to fight the virus.

While this is new to everyone- we still don’t know if the vaccine will stop the spread. We continue to monitor safety even after a vaccine becomes available to the public. Don’t forget Covid-19 prevention: keep your distance, sanitise and mask at all times.


  1. National Institute for Cummunicable Diseases ( NICD)
  2. Sanlam (click here to make a booking for your vaccine!)

Vaccination sites in Gauteng

Click here to find an updated list of vaccine sites in Gauteng

vaccination sites




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