Head of Monash Health, Rhonda Stuart with the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine. Picture: Arsineh Houspian
Head of Monash Health, Rhonda Stuart with the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine. Picture: Arsineh Houspian

What are possible side effects of COVID vaccines?

Central Queenslanders may think the COVID vaccine rollout hasn’t hit the region yet, but according to the federal health department, aged care residents are getting the jab.

An Australian Government Department of Health spokesman said the vaccination program for aged care residents was being managed by the federal government, while the wider rollout for the general public was controlled by individual state health departments.

“As at 4 March 2021, over 20,814 aged care residents have been vaccinated at 241 aged care facilities, including some in Central Queensland,” the spokesman said.

“The number of locations will increase and vaccines will be available across additional settings as the number of vaccines grows.”

Currently, Australia has access and approval to use two vaccines, the Pfizer and the AstraZeneca.

It is anticipated most people will get the AstraZeneca vaccine as 53.8 million doses have been ordered, compared to 10 million Pfizer jabs, and it will be produced in Melbourne by the CSIRO.

The Pfizer had a 95 per cent efficacy of preventing symptomatic disease in testing, while the AstraZeneca was found in testing to be 70 per cent effective.

Both vaccines have possible side effects according to the Department of Health.

“You may experience minor side effects following vaccination,” the spokesman said.

“Most side effects last no more than a couple of days and you will recover without any problems.”

Common vaccine reactions include; pain, redness and/or swelling where you received the needle, tiredness, a mild fever or chills, nausea, muscle and or joint pain and a headache.

People are asked to wait 15 minutes after being vaccinated in case a serious allergic reaction occurs.

The chance of experiencing a serious reaction 15 minutes after vaccination are extremely low, but possible.

Women are more likely to experience serious side effects, according to data from the US, with the majority of anaphylactic reactions experienced by women.

Researchers in the US studied 13.7 million COVID-19 vaccinations, finding 79.1 per cent of reported side effects came from women, though only 61.2 per cent of the vaccines had been administered to women.

Rare side effects, according to the federal government Health Direct website, to the Pfizer vaccine are; enlarged lymph nodes, feeling unwell, pain in your arm or leg, insomnia and itching at the injection site.

People who experience temporary facial drooping on one side after the Pfizer vaccine are advised to see their doctor or go to hospital immediately.

Different side effects can possibly be experienced from the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Health Direct said these include a rash, itching or hives on the skin, swelling of the face, lips, tongue or other parts of the body, a shortness of breath, wheezing or difficulty breathing

fainting, dizziness and feeling light-headed. (due to a drop in blood pressure)

If you suffer any side effects from the COVID vaccine, report them to the Therapeutic Goods Administration website.

CQ COVID cases by Local Government Area

Central Highlands – 1 (locally acquired unknown contact)

Gladstone – 2 (one acquired locally, one acquired overseas)

Livingstone Shire – 1 (acquired overseas)

Rockhampton – 8 (seven acquired overseas, one locally acquired known contact)

Possible rare side effects (source: Health Direct)

Pfizer

  • enlarged lymph nodes
  • feeling unwell
  • pain in your arm or leg
  • insomnia
  • itching at the injection site

AstraZeneca

  • rash
  • itching or hives on the skin
  • swelling of the face, lips, tongue or other parts of the body
  • a shortness of breath, wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • fainting
  • dizziness and feeling light-headed (due to low blood pressure)


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