What to Expect Post Vaccination? How to Deal with Adverse Effects?

It is common to experience minor side effects after COVID-19 vaccination. Here’s all you need to know.

4 min read
In case you experience adverse side effects, contact your vaccination site immediately. Image used for representational purposes only.

(Certain adverse events are an expected outcome of COVID-19 vaccination and the sites are equipped to monitor and treat people post jab, the health ministry had said.)

With an escalation in immunisation sites, the number of vaccination on Thursday, 4 March, was reported to be close to 11 lakh.

Around 10,93,954 people including healthcare workers, frontline workers, senior citizens and those above 45 years with specified comorbid conditions received jabs in a day pushing the cumulative tally of vaccination over 1.77 crore, informed the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

So, what should you expect after you receive COVID-19 vaccination? How should you deal with an adverse reaction? Here’s all you need to know.

What happens post-vaccination?

Once you are inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine – Covaxin or Covishield – you are taken into the observation room at the site.

Here, your general parameters are monitored for 30 minutes for a possible Adverse Event Following Immunisation (AEFI) before you are allowed to leave the site of vaccination.

What is adverse event following immunisation (AEFI)?

An adverse event following immunisation (AEFI) is any untoward medical occurrence, which follows immunisation, and which does not necessarily have a causal relationship with the usage of the vaccine, explains the guidelines released by the Ministry of Health.

The adverse event may be any unfavourable or unintended disease, symptom, sign or abnormal laboratory finding, the advisory added.


What symptoms are classified AEFI?

Minor AEFI: Common and self limiting reactions, for example, pain, swelling at site of injection, fever, irritability, tiredness, dizziness, and nausea.

Severe AEFI: Can be disabling and rarely life threatening. These do not lead to long-term problems. Eg: High fever (>102 degree F), anaphylaxis (allergic reaction).

Serious AEFI: Those reactions that requires inpatient hospitalisation, causes significant disability

So, what are the side-effects expected for Covaxin and Covishield?

For Covishield, the fact sheet says some mild adverse events can happen following immunisation:

  • Injection site tenderness, injection site pain, headache, fatigue, myalgia (muscle pain), discomfort, pyrexia (an abnormal elevation of body temperature), chills, and nausea.
  • In such cases, a paracetamol can be given, the advisory adds.
  • It also says “very rare events of demyelinating disorders” have been reported following vaccination with Covishield, “without the causal relationship establishment.” Demyelinating disorders refer to any condition that results in damage to the protective covering (myelin sheath) that surrounds nerve fibers in your brain, optic nerves and spinal cord, according to Mayo Clinic. They can result in neurological problems.

According to the Centre’s fact sheet, these are the common adverse events after administering Covaxin.

  • Injection site pain
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Body ache
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Cold
  • Cough

Bharat Biotech has claimed that no serious adverse event has been reported in Phase 1 and 2.

Are there certain people who should not take Covaxin?

Bharat Biotech's fact sheet says those with a history of allergies, who have fever, those who have a bleeding disorder or are on a blood thinner, those pregnant or breastfeeding, and those with any other serious health-related issues must not be injected with Covaxin.


What happens if I develop adverse symptoms at the site of vaccination?

  • Beneficiaries should be observed at the session site for at least 30 minutes post-vaccination to detect, manage and treat immediate adverse reaction.
  • All vaccinators and supervisors at the vaccination site will be those who are trained to provide primary treatment of all AEFIs.
  • If needed, cases should be immediately referred to the nearest hospital/other health facility and reported to the appropriate authorities. As of now, vaccination is happening in hospital sites equipped to handle adverse events.
  • Adequate transportation should be available to transfer persons with serious adverse reactions.

Is everyone who is vaccinated in India experiencing side effects?

Not at all. However, it is common to experience some minor side effects.

The Centre on Monday said that 580 recipients across India suffered AEFI over the first three days of the COVID-19 vaccination drive, seven required hospitalisation.

A 46-year-old ward boy at a district hospital in UP’s Moradabad died a day after he had received a jab of Covishield on 16 January. After getting vaccinated, he developed breathlessness and uneasiness, especially in the chest, read the report. However, the the post-mortem report revealed the immediate cause of death as “cardiogenic shock/septicemic shock” due to “cardio-pulmonary disease.”


Are there any specific precautions I should take?

The government has not released guidelines for post-vaccine precautions. While some people may feel fit enough to continue with their day regularly, others may feel the need to take a lighter day.

Do consult your physician regarding this.

However, it is important to note that you have to continue to wear masks even after getting vaccinated.

What should I do if I develop adverse effects a couple of days later?

  • In this case, you have to call your vaccination site immediately
  • You can also call the COVID-19 helpline – 1075

Will you be given the second jab if you develop adverse effects after the first one?

You will be given the second jab if you develop minor adverse effects. However, if someone develops serious adverse effects, then the second jab will not be given, the government has said in the guidelines released a day before vaccination.

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