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For the Covid-19 vaccine to have the desired effect and act as a "ticket to a summer of freedom and normality" as some have suggested it might, it requires an overwhelming majority of the country actually receive the jab.
This is why fear-mongering surrounding the vaccine could prove to be so costly, some corners of social media are already littered with stories of people who have had their coronavirus vaccine and fallen "ill" afterwards, with some claiming this is a sign of the danger surrounding the jab.
However, though there is a slim chance you may feel unwell after you have been vaccinated – this may actually be a good sign.
Neither of the vaccines currently available to those in the UK contain whole viruses, both the Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech jabs stimulate a powerful immune response, designed to protect you, but can cause side effects such as chills, fevers and headaches.
The body’s immune system is advanced enough to not only determine whether this strand of germ is something you are used to, but it is also able to identify how harmful it is. It can differentiate between viruses and parasites, while also restoring damaged tissue.
What makes these vaccines so remarkable is their ability to take a safer version of the pathogen into the person’s immune system, which will immediately spark the immune system into life.
The pathogen within the vaccine is required to ensure the immune system responds, as it will only react if it tricked into thinking the body has been harmfully infected.
"Side-effects" of Covid-19 such as a high temperature or fatigue are actually born from the body's immune system attempting to fend off the virus, rather than the virus itself.
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Side-effects of the actual vaccine include swelling at the site of injection, as well as sore muscles and swollen lymph nodes – in some rare cases the body's response to the jab will actually induce a fever.
In terms of serious side-effects, anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction) and Guillain-Barre Syndrome (nerve damage due to inflammation) are two responses that have been widely discussed, but it is important to note these occur at a frequency of less than one in 500,000 doses.
The science behind the vaccine is primarily focused on detaching the spike protein from the coronavirus and placing it within the jab, if the spike protein is what the virus uses to gain access to cells – but if the spike protein is without the rest of the virus it is rendered fairly harmless.
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However, because the body is not used to having to deal with both the spike protein and the rest of the vaccine’s contents, it produces an immune response that can often feel like getting sick. The immune system is working so tirelessly, the cells can become inflamed.
The jabs currently being shot into millions of arms up and down the country are proven to be as high as 90% effective in offering protection.
Though many will experience side effects, according to Matthew Woodruff, instructor with the Lowance Center for Human Immunology at Emory University, this is a good thing: “Experts state that these are signs that the vaccine is doing what it was designed to do which is training the immune system to respond appropriately.”
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