When it comes to vaccines, experts say the benefits outweigh the risks
HALIFAX -- If you are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine right now, health professionals say, roll up your sleeve, and get it.
"A lot of people in their twenties, thirties and forties are getting COVID. Not only getting it, but getting sick," says Dr. John Gillis, a Halifax emergency room physician.
"So a day or two of side effects is nothing compared to the risk of obviously dying, but of getting long COVID, getting sick and having respiratory symptoms, fatigue, stay with you for a long period of time," adds Gillis.
Pharmacist Diane Harpell administers doses of the vaccine at her pharmacy.
As for the side effects, she says some patients have experienced very few or none, while others have felt under the weather the following day.
"I've heard anything from people feeling like a superhero, to some folks who have felt pretty darn awful the next day, but it's gone pretty quickly - so seeing a variety really, from nothing to some sick feelings," says Harpell.
Dr. Lisa Barrett says it's important to receive reliable information. Barrett says a number of people might develop minor side effects.
"A day of fatigue, some headaches, maybe a low grade fever depending on which of the vaccines that they get -- as well as a sore arm at the time of the vaccine and within 24 hours after, so those are the most common ones that we see," says Barrett, an infectious disease specialist.
With so much attention focused on AstraZeneca, Dr. Barrett says she wants people to understand the risk of getting a blood clot from the vaccine is far lower than the risk of getting one from birth control, for example.
Barrett says a percentage of people have a chance of getting a blood clot from the disease itself.
"It's not uncommon to get blood clots if you get COVID," says Barrett. "Of course the AstraZeneca vaccine, the risk of this really rare, rare blood clot is much less. But it's something people should talk about with their health provider."
Harpell agrees, she believes the benefits outweigh the risks.
"With any medication, that's a judgement that's made every time you consider taking even a Tylenol, is the risk of taking this, versus the benefit that you're going to get from it worth it," says Harpell.
Dr. Barrett says it's important to remember the vast majority of people don't have any significant side effects or difficulties after receiving their vaccine and the common minor side-effects are a sign your immune system is doing what it's supposed to.