France Bleu Occitanie examines the Side effects caused by the Covid-19 vaccine. When do they intervene? Does age play a role? When are we likely to experience these side effects? What kinds of side effects? Doctor Nicolas Homehr, general practitioner at Lherm (31) and President of the CPTS of Sud Toulousain gives his details.
Are your patients worried?
We have a six-month follow-up on patients with different vaccines. So there is no more worry today. Of course, when the patient has had his first dose, he is always worried about what it will do to him and then he may have read or heard side effects around him. Today we can say that after the hundreds of millions of doses that have been injected into the world, we are really reassured on the number of side effects and on the quality of side effects of the second dose compared to the first dose.
What are these side effects?
First you should know that the older you are, the less adverse effects you have. Of course, we have 80-year-old patients who have side effects, but this is still quite rare. Then, the third age, we will say the over 70 years. There are a few that have reported side effects, but very few. We are actually on younger patients who report side effects such as headaches, pain at the puncture site in the shoulder. For others it will be more like a flu-like state, that is to say a fever between 38 and 40 and body aches. It will last two days.
So young people are all the more affected?
The first factor is really age. Why? We have different explanations. The immune system is more powerful in a young patient so it will react more strongly to the vaccine. We wondered about the quality of the vaccine. Were there more patients who reacted with Astrazeneca, Pfizer or Moderna? A priori, no. So it seems to be more related to the immune system rather than the type of vaccine.
How do you respond to the most apprehensive about vaccination?
When we put in the balance the benefit risk side effects and the risk of contamination of your parents, grandparents, the choice is simple. He must understand that it’s to protect those around you. And that, I can tell you that we, in the cabinet, we have a very strong echo among young people.
Do you recommend opening vaccination to adolescents?
We are starting to take a step back, I hope that a good number of teenagers will be able to go on vacation and that vaccination centers will be open on vacation spots. Many parents ask us questions. And you, doctor, what do you think? I think we have to do it, of course, for his grandparents, but also because it will protect everyone. Once again, we have a vaccine that is safe. I have three children. My oldest is 13 and I will get him vaccinated because I am confident and also because I have read enough things that gave me this confident opinion.