Post-vaccine group chat: Did you experience side-effects after the Covid-19 jab?

Tweeps turn to social media to find out if they are alone

11 August 2021 - 13:00 By kyle zeeman
Some people experienced no side-effects beyond a slightly sore arm after being vaccinated against Covid-19.
Some people experienced no side-effects beyond a slightly sore arm after being vaccinated against Covid-19.
Image: Raneen Sawafta

More than eight million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been given across SA since February, and those who feel a little worse for wear after getting their jab have turned to social media to find out if they are alone.

As of Tuesday evening the country had administered more than 8.8-million vaccines, with 176,752 given in the past 24 hours.

One social media user was gatvol of people sharing “horror stories” about the side-effects of the vaccine and started a trend to clear the air.

“People who have been vaccinated please share your experience so we can retweet. Aggressively. The narrative of unconfirmed disproportionate horror stories is flooding the socials and is causing a lot of hesitancy,” he wrote.

The post soon went viral with more than 40,000 retweets and 22,800 comments, drawing responses from leaders and social media users around the world.

While some said they experienced side-effects, most reported a sore arm or minor headache for a few days.

According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), adverse events after receiving a Covid-19 vaccine include stroke, a heart attack or death in a motor vehicle accident. 

“Any of these events may or may not be associated with vaccination, but all these events are adverse events following immunisation (AEFI). An AEFI usually occurs within 28 days following vaccination,” said the NICD.

The institute said it typically takes two weeks after vaccination for the body to build immunity against Covid-19.

“The body’s immune system takes up to 14 days to develop strong immune responses after the first dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. With the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine there is some protection two weeks after the first dose, but the best protection is achieved after the second dose.”

Last month the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) said a comprehensive study was being undertaken to better understand AEFIs.

It advised anyone who experiences adverse effects to report it on the authority’s Med Safety App. The app is available on iOS and Android operating systems. 

Here are some reactions to the trend:


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