Expert expresses doubt on effectiveness of booster jab
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Less than a year since the first Covid vaccine was administered in the UK it was reported that the jabs had saved around 112,000 lives across the country. It was also thought the jabs helped prevent 24 million cases of the disease in the UK between December 2020 and 2021. And health bodies are now encouraging eligible people to come forward for an autumn booster.
While the benefits of the vaccine greatly outweigh any potential side effects, it is worth being aware of the impact it can have on your body.
According to the ZOE Covid study, 15.9 percent of participants recorded “at least one whole body (systemic) effect” after their booster jab that was given by November 2021.
This was 50,339 people out of 317,000 contributors to the study.
More specifically, they reported the two main symptoms as fatigue and headache.
However, a “much larger” number of people – 232,596 (or 73.4 percent) – reported local effects including tenderness and pain around the site of injection.
Of those taking part the majority – 289,250 people – were given a Pfizer jab, while 27,761 had the Moderna vaccine.
A similar amount suffered a whole body effect after their booster compared to those who had a Pfizer jab as their first (12.5 percent).
Whereas one in three (33 percent) who had AstraZeneca as a first vaccine reported whole body effects.
However, the proportion of people who experienced local effects like tenderness and pain in the area of the jab was “similar” to what they found for the first two doses.
On the ZOE Covid study website it explains: “COVID-19 vaccines work by using harmless parts of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus to train our immune system, so when we encounter the virus for real we’re able to fight it off.
“We’ve seen through studying the effects of the first two shots that this training response can feel a bit like the effects we get when we’re fighting off a real infection, including headaches; fever, chills or shivers; tiredness (fatigue); muscle or joint pains; and diarrhoea or feeling sick (nausea).
“It’s also common to experience local effects like pain, swelling, redness or itchiness at the site of the injection, or swelling of the glands (lymph nodes) in the armpit.”
Why you should get boosted
Using data from the study it was also calculated how effective the boosters were.
“To find out how well booster doses work, we compared data from ZOE COVID Study app contributors over the age of 55 who had received a booster with people in the same age group who hadn’t yet had their booster dose by 23rd November,” it says.
“We calculate that three Pfizer jabs are 95 percent effective against symptoms of the Delta variants compared with being unvaccinated, while having a Pfizer booster after two doses of AstraZeneca is 91 percent effective against the Delta variant.
“Having a Moderna booster after AstraZeneca is 89 percent effective against Delta, and 92.5 percent effective following two Pfizer jabs.
“All the booster jabs protected very well against severe disease and hospitalisation from Delta”
Those currently eligible for the most recent booster jab include if you are:
- Aged 50 or over
- Aged five and over and at high risk from COVID-19 due to a health condition or a weakened immune system
- Aged five and over and live with someone who has a weakened immune system
- Aged 16 and over and a carer, either paid or unpaid
- Living or working in a care home for older people
- A frontline health and social care worker.
If you are eligible you can book your jab via www.nhs.uk.
The Government lists common side effects of the booster as:
- Having a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm where you had your injection
- Feeling tired
- General aches or mild flu-like symptoms.
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