Second jab side-effects and the ethics of vaccination

I spoke too soon in my last post about not having any side-effects after the second Pfizer jab. A few hours later I developed a fever, headache, aches and pains, and a swollen lymph node in my armpit on the vaccinated arm. After the first dose it felt like I had a marble under my arm. This time it felt like a golf ball. It took about 24 hours before I felt like my old self again and I’m almost back to 100% now except for the slightly tender arm.

We are planning a summer holiday and are terrified we’ll have to cancel it again like the previous three holidays over the past year so we’re going into hermit mode now. It doesn’t look like restrictions will be reintroduced but what is more likely is having to self-isolate because one of us is a close contact of someone who tested positive. With 30,000 cases a day in the UK and the number rising this is becoming a big problem. People may not be getting sick or seriously ill but having to self-isolate for 10 days is creating problems for businesses needing staff. We’ve decided to go into our own self-imposed lockdown of sorts for a couple of weeks before we go away.

Fortunately there’s very little anti-vaccine sentiment in the UK but it’s still here in small pockets and the past few days I’ve seen some of it on social media. What is quite astonishing is these people are benefitting greatly from the fact the vast majority of us have had the jab. Had we not all stepped up then we’d be going into a strict lockdown right now.

Every drug has side-effects and carries a small risk. If we ignore the risk of covid just for a second, people who have the vaccine are taking a small risk that benefits everyone. These benefits are herd immunity and lifting of restrictions. People who choose not to have the vaccine get all of these benefits without any of the risk. In my view, unless you have a medical reason not to have the vaccine, it’s unethical to expect everyone else to take that risk on your behalf.

9 Replies to “Second jab side-effects and the ethics of vaccination”

  1. I got my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine January 4th. My experience was similar to yours. Now, both my kids are also vaccinated, one with Moderna, the other Pfizer. My husband refuses to get vaccinated because he thinks he’s healthy enough to survive the virus if he contracts it without long haul effects, and he fears there will be long term side effects from the vaccine. Even though I’m a healthcare provider and treat both covid positive patients and those who are recovering from the virus in rehab, I can’t convince him to change his mind. I’m worried that the Delta variant, which is becoming rampant in the US, will claim him soon. It sounds like there are still many cases in the UK.

    1. Oh no I’m sorry to hear your husband is anxious about getting the vaccine. I hope you can still convince him. Maybe as he sees cases rising with the Delta variant taking hold he’ll reconsider? At least given you’re fully vaccinated you’ll be less likely to transmit it should you pick it up at work.

      1. Yes. I told him since I know that I’m exposed on a regular basis for extensive periods of time, I felt it was my responsibility to my family to get vaccinated. Now that I’m 7 months out from my second dose, I’m starting to feel nervous again. I’m not sure how long my immunity will last. And apparently those who are vaccinated can transmit the delta variant.

  2. I agree with you.
    They really should’ve forced people to be vaccinated. Period.

    I gladly got my vaccination. I was thoroughly excited when I could finally make my appointment, and get a bit of my life back.
    I kind of worry about the 2nd dose though. I hear from many people they get sick. Even from Pfizer! (Which is what I got too).
    I really hoped I would get Pfizer, though. They just stopped forcing Janssen on people a few days before I could make the appointment, and I was thrilled about that too. I really didn’t want that one. It protects a lot less, and many people got badly sick afterwards.

    Anyway,.. sorry about the rambling 🙈
    And I’m also sorry to read you got sick again. Must have been awful…
    But I’m glad you’re almost fully recovered.
    You hang in there. And do try to avoid all the silly people that are taking all those risks and get themselves infected 🙅🏼‍♀️

    We are allowed to stop wearing facemasks. And I did, for 2 weeks.
    And now I’m back to using them again, as the numbers are rising so rapidly,.. again,..!!! (here in The Netheands).

    1. Hopefully you won’t have any side-effects after the second dose. I don’t think it affects everyone in the same way. Keeping the mask sounds sensible too and we’ll likely continue wearing ours for the foreseeable future.

  3. Someone told me they were nervous about it in case it affected their fertility and she said as soon as they release evidence it will be OK on that front she will have it, which is fair enough.
    I also heard someone say they thought it was irresponsible/foolish for a colleague to download the app as they had to self isolate because of it. I didn’t know what to say.

    1. Wow, imagine calling out someone else for doing the responsible thing and downloading the app. I have the Scottish NHS app on my phone but have never been pinged by it. I sometimes wonder whether it really works or how many other people are using it.

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