Should I get the Covid vaccine? Will it cause trouble. I felt rubbish after the first jab, should I have the second dose?
I get asked this all the time.
From a numbers perspective it’s clear – Covid can be a nasty disease and the risk of being severely ill with it is much higher than the vaccine for all adults.
But many people say they feel terrible after the jab. How much of this is a “Nocebo” effect is hard to tell. People almost expect bad things which means they are more likely to feel bad things have happened due to the vaccine.
We can see the same with Statin drugs and if you’re interested I’d check out the Samson trial.
So whilst bad things do happen with the vaccine they are rare. As a cardiologist I have seen reports of myocarditis in young people after the Covid vaccine. This is currently under investigation.
The difficult thing is always knowing if this is coincidence or if there’s a causal relationship.
If you’ve had a bad experience with the first jab should you get the second?
There’s no good way to answer that. Some people have been asking me to test for antibodies – but this is an area where it pays to know what your testing. Many antibody tests look for the Antibodies to the N protein. This is produced by infection, but not by vaccines as these make the body produce antibodies to the spike protein. So know what you’re being tested for!
Intuitively antibody production should reflect immunity but the immune system also has a cellular response.
While the UK experience shows that a single jab has some effect, it seems to be less effective against the new delta variant so it is important to get both jabs to be fully protected.