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What side effects do Canadians report after getting COVID-19 vaccine?

Last Updated Mar 2, 2021 at 9:33 am PDT

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, administers a dose of the Moderna vaccine to Ann Hicks in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-Pool
Summary

Survey looks at what Canadians are reporting as side effects from COVID-19 vaccines

Most people surveyed who've received COVID shot report pain in the arm at injection site

17 per cent of Canadians polled say they had absolutely no side effects from COVID-19 vaccines

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As provinces ramp up their COVID-19 vaccination efforts in the months and weeks ahead, some may be wondering what the experience of getting a shot has been like for the many people who have already been inoculated.

Looking at the latest poll from Leger, there is a range of experiences reported.

In Canada, most of those immunized against COVID-19 so far (55 per cent) have received the Pfizer vaccine. When it comes to side effects, respondents most commonly report pain in the arm, at 68 per cent.

About a quarter report tiredness and fewer than two-in-10 say they got a headache after rolling up their sleeve.

In descending order, other reported effects from the COVID-19 shot include muscle soreness, swelling, chills, and fever.

Only about three per cent report they were hospitalized, though the poll doesn’t go into why.

There is a significant portion of those polled who say they had absolutely no side effects at 17 per cent.

Meanwhile, 41 per cent of Canadians surveyed reported some sort of pain associated with the side effects. Thirteen per cent say the side effects were “very painful” while 28 per cent say they were “somewhat” so.

Across the country, 59 per cent seem to be on the other side of that; 44 per cent say the side effects were not very painful while 15 per cent say they weren’t painful at all.

Read the full survey:

Legers-North-American-Tracker-March-1st-2021-min

B.C. has plans to get more people immunized faster by extending the length of time between first and second doses.

On Monday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced B.C. would be extending the interval between first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months. The extension will apply to all three vaccines currently approved in Canada, made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca.

“The important thing that we have learned is that these vaccines work, they give a very high level of protection, and that protection lasts for many months,” Henry said.

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“In combination with the new vaccines that we have available, this gives us a very important and very real benefit to everybody here in B.C. That means we can move everybody up the list and more people will be protected sooner,” B.C.’s top doctor added, noting delaying the second shot “provides very high, real-world protection to more people sooner.”

Word of the extension came as the province unveiled dates for when the most senior British Columbians will begin to have access to the vaccines.