I got my COVID-19 vaccine! Now what?
by Dr. Crystle Cotingting M.D

First of all, congratulations on your decision to protect yourself against the severe complications of COVID-19! Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions we get at Medgate from people after vaccination.

What can I expect?

The most commonly reported side effects from any of the COVID-19 vaccines are pain, redness and swelling on the arm where you received your shot. For this, cold compress for 10-15 minutes every few hours should help reduce the pain and swelling.Fever, feeling tired, muscle pains and headache are other expected side effects after vaccination. If you develop any of these, taking over-the-counter Paracetamol can help.

These symptoms are expected to go away within 2-3 days. If you do not see any improvements in your symptoms by this time, contact the COVID-19 vaccine hotline given to you at the vaccination site.

What symptoms should raise concern?

Symptoms such as the following are a bit more concerning.

• Difficulty of breathing or shortness of breath

• Sensation of tightness around your throat

• Chest pain

• Palpitations

• Severe or persistent headache

• Leg swelling

• Persistent abdominal pain

If you have these symptoms or other unusual symptoms, it would be best if you go directly to the nearest emergency room for further evaluation and management. Please also contact the COVID-19 vaccine hotline number.

I developed cough and colds after vaccination. Is this to be expected?

Cough and colds are NOT an expected side effect from the vaccine. This could be a common cold (or upper respiratory tract infection), but may also be a COVID-19 infection.

I didn’t develop any symptoms at all after the vaccine. Should I be worried?

No. People react differently to the vaccines. Not getting any side effects also does NOT mean that your vaccine did not work.

Can I now stop wearing masks?

No, you should continue practicing minimum public health standards (mask – hugas – iwas), even after getting vaccinated. It takes some time for your body to build protection against COVID-19. Remember,vaccines are only one of the tools in our arsenal to protect against COVID – 19. Think of vaccination like carrying an umbrella,wearing a mask is like wearing a rain coat,and the face shield to rubber boots. Each adds another layer of protection!

Lastly, did you know that in a recent Pulse Asia survey (June 2021), seeing relatives, friends and acquaintances get vaccinated is one of the reasons that would convince people to get vaccinated? So, please do share that vaccination selfie! Talk to people, especially people who might be on-the-fence about getting the vaccine, about your experiences. Help people who may not know how or is having difficulty registering for the vaccine. It is going to take all of us to make sure everyone is vaccinated and we are not going to be protected, unless everyone is protected.