Are there side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Clinical trials did not report serious side effects due to the vaccines. The people who received the vaccines in the clinical trials continue to be monitored for any longer-term side effects. Several processes are in place in Canada to monitor the vaccines’ safety as more people get immunized.

Common reactions to the vaccines may include soreness, redness, swelling and itchiness where the vaccine was given. For some people, these reactions may show up eight or more days after getting the vaccine. Other reactions may include tiredness, headache, fever, chills, muscle or joint soreness, swollen lymph nodes under the armpit, nausea and vomiting. These reactions are mild and generally lasts one to two days. If you have concerns about any symptoms you develop after receiving the vaccine, speak with your health-care provider or call 8-1-1 for advice.

It is important to stay in the clinic for 15 minutes after getting any vaccine because about 1 in a million people can have a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. This may include hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the throat, tongue or lips. Should this reaction occur, the health-care providers on-site are prepared to treat it. If symptoms develop after you leave the clinic, call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number. Always report serious or unexpected reactions to your health-care provider.

Based on direction from the provincial Ministry of Health, we will complete the program this week. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has recommended a temporary suspension of the use of the AstraZeneca/SII Covishield vaccines in Canadians under 55. This is a precautionary measure, as the vaccine may be associated with rare cases of blood clots, totaling less than 30 cases worldwide out of 20 million people who received the vaccine.

More than 300,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/SII Covishield vaccines have been administered in Canada; to date, no cases of the rare blood clotting adverse events have been reported. The cases identified in other jurisdictions have been primarily in women under the age of 55 years, although cases in men have also been reported; they have mostly occurred between four and 20 days after vaccination. If you received this vaccine within the past three weeks, and experience any of the following symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. It is a condition that we have a test for and is treatable.

  • prolonged headache
  • blurred vision
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • leg swelling
  • persistent abdominal pain
  • abnormal bruising or bleeding

Further information on signs and symptoms of this adverse event and treatment can be found on Health Canada’s website.

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