What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine? B.C. health officials share guide
B.C.'s COVID-19 vaccine distribution began on Dec. 15, 2020. (Province of BC/Flickr)
VANCOUVER -- With B.C. slowly ramping up its mass COVID-19 vaccination program, some might be wondering what the shot actually feels like or what side effects they can expect when it's their turn for a dose.
The BC Centre for Disease Control has recently circulated details on common side effects and what symptoms are more dangerous and may require medical attention.
According to the BCCDC, some side effects are more likely a day or two after getting a dose. Pain, redness or swelling might happen right away or as long as seven days after the shot. As well, tiredness, headaches, fever, chills, muscle soreness, nausea and vomiting are all possible.
In addition, some might experience a swollen lymph node under their armpit, which has led to concern from some after those lumps have shown up on mammograms during breast cancer screenings. However, health officials say it's not an uncommon effect of the shots.
The BCCDC says all those side effects aren't serious and should go away on their own. The health agency also says that while some of those symptoms are similar to COVID-19, the vaccine does not cause or give people COVID-19.
Some tips to manage side effects include applying a cool, damp cloth or an ice pack to any painful areas. As well, individuals can take an acetaminophen, like Tylenol, or ibuprofen, like Advil, to help alleviate any discomfort.
But there are some rare, serious side effects individuals should watch for and seek medical attention if they develop, the BCCDC says. Those include a severe allergic reaction like hives, difficult breathing or swelling of the face, tongue or throat. In those cases, individuals should seek medical attention or call 911 right away and tell them they'd received a COVID-19 vaccine.
To help mitigate the risk of those serious side effects, vaccination clinics will require people to wait in an observation area for about 15 minutes to watch for any of those adverse reactions.
As well, the BCCDC says symptoms like a sore throat, running nose, cough or having problems breathing aren't effects of the vaccine and are therefore caused by something else.