Common side effects are normal after AstraZeneca vaccination – Health Minister

According to the CDC, the side effects are normal signs that the body is building protection

Experiencing soreness on the site of injection, fever, headache, fatigue, muscle pain, nausea, chill and mild cough are likely after the AstraZeneca vaccine, according to Health Minister Dasho Dechen Wangmo.

Additionally, she said these side effects are common adverse event following immunization in the inoculation process.

“After inoculation, one has to wait for half an hour under observation as serious anaphylactic (allergy) reaction would happen in first half an-hour,” said Lyonpo.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the COVID-19 vaccine would have some side effects, which are normal signs that the body is building protection.

“These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Some people have no side effects,” states the CDC.

Meanwhile, the Lyonpo urged the public to report to the health ministry if there are any side effects, although they are not a major concern.

“Adverse reaction would be reported to the respective doctors as and when the immunization program is rolled out,” she added.

As per the CDC, the side effects need attention if the redness or tenderness where one got shot gets worse after 24 hours and the side effects do not seem to be going away after a few days.

The National Immunization Technical Advisory Group has clustered 1,001 vaccination sites into 140 clusters and a doctor is assigned for each cluster to observe the immunization process, procedures and to manage adverse reactions in respective clusters.

Additionally, the Lyonpo said the report on the side effects would be documented and it would also add as additional scientific knowledge to the vaccine developers.

For monitoring purposes and safety, the health ministry has identified three regional technical advisory group namely in Mongar referral hospital, Gelephu referral hospital, and national referral hospital in Thimphu.

The Lyonpo also shared that people who have not registered can register at the vaccination site and information on the medical conditions of the person would be re-verified by the health workers before the vaccination.

A vaccinated person would be marked with a black election mark on the left thumb indicating that he or she has vaccinated. 

The Lyonpo urged the people to come forward and get vaccinated to gain a herd immunity and that maximum benefit would be gained if we achieve 70% herd immunity.

Moreover, she said during the vaccination campaign, the inter dzongkhag travel would be restricted, however, those who have received the vaccine can travel.

Lyonpo said an eligible individual having not vaccinated would face certain inconveniences as there would be COVID-19 testing while traveling inter dzongkhags, visiting hospitals and random testing if required. 

Additionally, she said many countries are in talk to have a vaccine passport for international travel although not many countries have formalized.

According to the health ministry, to avail vaccination services, one has to use movement card to visit the respective vaccination site as per the timing scheduled (Morning from 9am to 11am, afternoon from 11am to 1pm, lunch from 1pm to 2 pm and evening from 2pm to 4pm) during seven days of the vaccination campaign from March 27 to April 2.

The second jab of the vaccination is expected after 8 weeks to 12 weeks of the first jab. As of Thursday, there are 512,924 people, who have registered for the vaccination.

Thukten Zangpo from Thimphu