By now, most of us have received our first shots and some of us – both vaccines. For the rest of us who haven’t yet taken it you may be by now well prepared to receive your COVID-19 vaccination.
But what of the period just after you receive the shot? We have run several webinars (links below) where our participating specialist doctors have enumerated in detail how you should go about life post your vaccine.
We recap a few tips just so that you are clear about the protocols to follow.
- Getting an injection that activates your immune system is no minor matter, so be aware of what to expect. On the flip side, there is absolutely no need for stress levels to increase. It’s an inoculation, like many you have received during your lifetime, but the current world being as it is, it’s better to stay on the side of caution.
- The US Center for Disease control (CDC) says you should wait at least 15 minutes before leaving the vaccination site to make sure you have medical expertise nearby in case of an allergic reaction. The CDC also urges you to talk to your doctor before taking certain over-the-counter medicines following your vaccination especially if you have a medical condition. These drugs include:
The experts on this are the Americans, who have administered so many more vaccines than any country. Hence it’s prudent to listen to their advice.
Those without medical conditions can take these medications to reduce post-vaccination side-effects, such as soreness in the arm.
The following symptoms can be expected as minor side-effects of the Covaxin vaccine pain or swelling at the injection site; tiredness; headache; muscle pain; fever and chills; and joint pain. For the Covidshield jab, you can add nausea.
These side-effects should go away within two days.
You should seek medical attention after your vaccination if:
- You think you are having an allergic reaction. If you experience severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, wheezing, a fast heartbeat or you collapse – emergency service need to be called.
- You are worried about a potential side-effect or have new or unexpected symptoms
- You have an expected side-effect of the vaccine that has not gone away after a few days.
You don’t need to avoid alcohol after getting your shot. There is no evidence to show that alcohol consumption will influence how the vaccine works. Though many doctors have advised restricting alcohol consumption.
Exercise can either support or deplete your immune system. So go ahead with your daily walk, and avoid being sedentary. It helps to be reasonably active before and after your vaccination but listen to your body and don’t overdo it if you are fatigued and have a fever. Light arm exercises might help with injection site pain.
Returning to daily activities
Doctors advise resuming your normal activities if you feel well. If your arm is particularly sore, you may find heavy lifting difficult. If you feel unwell or very tired you should rest and avoid operating machinery or driving.
If you have the Covishield vaccine, it will be 12 weeks before your second dose, so make sure you document the date you must return to finish the process. The gap between jabs for the Covaxin vaccine is four weeks. Covaxin second dose can be taken 4-6 weeks after first dose
The weeks following your jab
It can take a few weeks for your body to build up its protection from the vaccine. Getting your first dose of the coronavirus vaccine does not mean you are instantly protected from the virus, so normal COVID-19 precautions should be continued. If you get COVID-19 after being vaccinated, the effects should be less severe. A full vaccination course greatly reduces your chance of becoming seriously ill. It is not yet determined how effective the vaccines are at reducing the risk of you passing on the virus.
You should get your second shot even if you have side-effects after the first shot unless a vaccination provider or your doctor tells you not to get it.
You must continue all hygiene protocols – washing your hands and wearing masks in public.
For more details on post vaccine and vaccine questions, click on these links which will take you to our Seniors Today Health webinars: