Many people have mild side effects after getting the vaccine

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Sore or heavy arm at injection site

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Fever or chills

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Muscle aches

  • These side effects show your immune system is preparing to fight COVID-19.
  • You may get them, you may not. Your immune system can still respond without giving you side effects.
  • These side effects usually start around 6 hours after vaccination and last 1-2 days.
  • If you need to, take paracetamol for pain or if you have fever or chills.
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If your side effects get worse or last longer than 1 week, contact your healthcare worker or contact the Western Cape Government Call Centre 0860 142 142.

Occasionally, vaccine side effects can be dramatic

Some people faint as they get vaccinated. This is not serious.

  • If you suddenly feel dizzy, weak or lightheaded as you get vaccinated, lie down and put your head between your knees.
  • You should recover quickly.
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Serious side effects are extremely rare.

  • A few people have had an allergic reaction to the vaccine.
    • This is more likely if you had a severe allergic reaction before.
    • An allergic reaction usually happens straight after you get the vaccine, within the first hour.
    • Health workers are trained to respond quickly to an allergic reaction, and the correct medication is available at all vaccination sites to treat it.
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  • 1-4 people out of a million people who got the JnJ vaccine had a serious reaction that causes the blood to clot.
    • This can occur anytime from four days after vaccination until three weeks later.
    • Even though it is rare, there is treatment for this condition.

Report to your health worker or phone the Western Cape Call Centre if you develop any of the following within 1 month of receiving the vaccine:

  • A new, severe headache, especially if you have blurred vision, vomiting, weakness on one side of the body or difficulty speaking
  • Severe abdominal pain that does not go away
  • A rash of tiny red spots around the injection site
  • A painful or swollen leg
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty with breathing
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