Q Hello Auntie Pearl, I finally got the vaccine but now I am worried.
My arm hurts a lot where they put in the needle, and it’s been like this for a couple of days.
I’m just wondering if something is wrong. Do you know if it’s serious? Should I go back to the doctor?
From Jenny Got Jabbed
A Hi Jenny, well done on getting the vaccine. Better late than never as my mammie always said.
Now Auntie’s not going to get into the whole “to vax or not to vax” debate, because it’s your choice but Auntie thinks getting the vaccine is the right thing to do.
Anyway, let’s just talk about your eina arm.
What you should know is that it is very normal to have a sore arm after getting a vaccine – and this goes for any jab, not just the Covid-19 one, even for the flu, shingles, etc.
When it comes to the Covid-19 vaccine, most people will experience some symptoms that you have when you are sick, including fever, chills, fatigue and soreness, among others.
But this is a good thing!
Auntie doesn’t want to get too technical, but in a nutshell, what a vaccine does is imitate infections without actually causing an infection.
Vaccines expose your immune system to non-infectious versions or pieces of germs, which lets your body build a protective memory without having to get a dangerous infection.
So getting side-effects like fever or a sore arm from the vaccine is a sign that your immune system is working.
The pain in your arm is what we call a “local reaction”, and is a common symptom after getting vaxxed, and can include some soreness, redness, swelling and/or swollen lymph nodes in the arm where the shot was given.
Your arm muscles are just reacting to the small amount of vaccine liquid that was injected.
While more serious vaccine side-effects are possible, they are extremely rare.
This uncomfortable feeling in your arm, along with all the other side-effects, typically go away within a few days, so don’t worry.
However, if the pain suddenly gets significantly worse, or you get a rash down your arm, Auntie wants you to gooi straight back to the clinic.
In the meantime, you can try and get some relief from injection site soreness by keeping your arm moving and using it throughout the day; you can also place a clean, cool, wet wash-cloth over the area; or take a pain pill like Panado.