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Experts: No need to be worried about vaccine side effects

  • Published at 02:57 pm February 22nd, 2021
Vaccine Bangladesh DMC
File photo of a nurse injects Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield vaccine to an elderly man at the Dhaka Medical College vaccination centre in Dhaka, Bangladesh, February 9, 2021 Reuters

Any person feeling seriously ill after taking the jab should contact the doctor whose number is on vaccine card

People should not be concerned about the side effects after Covid-19 vaccination as it is a common issue for any vaccine, experts have said.

Bangladesh has launched the Covid-19 vaccination drive across the country on February 7 and inoculated 2,082,877 people as of Saturday.

Of them, only 678 people reported minor side effects such as mild fever, body ache, headache, and weakness after getting the vaccine shots, the health authorities said.

The authorities said there is no information that vaccine takers became seriously ill and were hospitalized.

Prof Dr ABM Abdullah, the personal physician of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said: "Any vaccine causes fever, body ache, joint pain, headache, and weakness. These are temporary and likely to last for two to three days. No need to be worried. 

"One can take paracetamol three times for two to three days. He/she has to eat normal nutritious food, drink more water, and take a hot water bath. However, if the symptoms do not subside in this period, a doctor should be consulted."

Vaccine taker Piyash Talukder said he took the jab on February 15 and started suffering from fever and body aches since that night. He also suffered from diarrhoea for five days.

Sanchita Situ, another vaccine receiver, said she felt severe pain in her arm in which the shot was administered.

Physicians said all these side effects are temporary reactions and there is nothing to be afraid of. 

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The jab takers said they only know about taking rest for half an hour after vaccination but not aware of post-vaccination instructions which should be disseminated from the vaccination centres.

In Bangladesh, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is being administered under its generic name "Covishield" which is manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII).

The institute said after getting the shot one in 10 people might report very common side effects - tenderness, chills, or feeling feverish, itching, swelling, or bruising where the injection is given, nausea, joint pain or muscle ache, headache, and fatigue.

One in 100 people might report uncommon adverse effects - abdominal pain, excessive sweating, itchy skin or rash, and dizziness.

Besides, breathing difficulty and high fever are among the severe side effects after vaccination, it said.

Dr Shamsul Haque, member secretary of the Covid-19 Vaccine Management Taskforce, said the rate of side effects in the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is very low.

"During the dry run, 2-3% of people reported adverse effects. Any vaccine can cause mild, moderate and severe side effects. And, we have taken preparation in this regard."

ASM Alamgir, principal scientific officer at the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), said: "Immunological changes take place in the body after vaccination. Because of this, some people may have side effects, some may not. Moreover, absence of side effects does not mean that the vaccine is ineffective.

"We have already inoculated 2 million people and there are no severe side effects. Covid-19 vaccination is being administered in other countries as well. Nothing serious is happening anywhere."

Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Additional Director General Prof Meerjady Sabrina Flora said they are yet to receive any complaint over severe side effects after vaccination.

She also requested that if anyone feels seriously ill, he/she should contact the doctor whose phone number has been given on the vaccine card.