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One Stinging Shot Against COVID-19: What to Expect After Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine?
  • By Park Yu-jeong, cub-reporter
  • 승인 2021.09.13 08:56
  • 호수 294
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▲ mRNA Vaccine

Amid the second wave of COVID-19, vaccination began on Aug. 26 for people aged 18 to 49 (i.e. those who were born between Jan.1, 1972, and Dec.31, 2003). They cannot choose a vaccine; therefore, they will receive either the Pfizer or Moderna, an mRNA vaccine. The mRNA vaccine triggers an immune response by instructing cells to make proteins, and the immune system produces antibodies against certain viruses to prevent infection of pathogens. However, people should pay attention to the side effects of COVID-19 vaccinations.

There are safety precautions to adhere to before receiving the COVID-19 vaccination. When people are in great shape, COVID-19 vaccination can help produce antibodies and reduce the risk of adverse reactions after vaccination. Therefore, it is recommended to get enough rest and not to drink alcohol before vaccination. Also, if people have a fever above 37.5℃ before vaccination, they should postpone their appointment. Some people take painkillers before getting vaccinated to prevent pain after inoculation. However, this action is prohibited. The reason for waiting at the hospital for 15 to 30 minutes after vaccination, is to observe the acute adverse reactions, but it is difficult to recognize the symptoms if people take painkillers in advance.

After vaccination, people should rest at home and monitor themselves for adverse reactions, for at least three days. In addition, it is recommended not to drink alcohol or engage in rigorous exercise for a week after vaccination. It is also recommended to avoid taking a bath or shower because the inoculation area can become infected. There are mild side effects, such as swelling and pain at the injection site. In this case, using ice packs to help relieve symptoms is advised. Fever, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, nausea, and vomiting can also occur. If people have a high fever or severe muscle pain, it is helpful to take acetaminophen, such as Tylenol. These mild side effects are normal reactions in the process of immunization, and the symptoms go away within three days. However, if the swelling, pain, or redness of the inoculated area worsens after 48 hours, or if bruising or bleeding occur around the inoculated area, people should consult a doctor. Also, if people have trouble breathing, splitting headaches, or hives all over their body, people must run to the emergency room.

Myocarditis, pericarditis, and anaphylaxis are serious adverse effects after mRNA vaccination. Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle and pericarditis is inflammation of the pericardium. Common symptoms of myocarditis and pericarditis include chest pain, pressure in your chest, and shortness of breath. However, symptoms of pericarditis are more specific than myocarditis. If people have severe pain when swallowing food, breathing deeply, coughing, and leaning back, they should suspect pericarditis. Anaphylaxis, which can occur after vaccination with mRNA, is a serious allergic reaction to polyethylene glycol, which is one of the ingredients of the vaccine. Symptoms include shock, breathing difficulties, losing consciousness, clammy skin, and swelling in the lips and mouth. They usually occur within 30 minutes of vaccination. Therefore, vaccinated patients are observed for 15~30 minutes before being released, to be monitored for anaphylaxis symptoms.

With the increase in COVID-19 vaccinations, expectations of a return to normal life, and concerns about adverse reactions of COVID-19 vaccines are growing. However, the probability of serious adverse events such as myocarditis, pericarditis, and anaphylaxis are very low, and the prevention of COVID-19 infections are high. In particular, it is more effective in preventing serious disease after infection. Therefore, vaccination can be a good way to return to daily life. According to the Class Operation Guide for autumn semester of 2021, if students submit their certificate of immunization to the department office, their attendance will be recognized for up to two days. Students who have had side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine, should refer to this for a healthy college life.

By Park Yu-jeong, cub-reporter  parkyujeong01@naver.com

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