With eight million healthcare and frontline workers vaccinated across the country by the end of Saturday, there are a range of observations that doctors’ associations and groups have made. For instance, most manage to make it to work despite suffering post vaccine symptoms, ranging from fatigue and headache to nausea. The majority of those vaccinated have some postvaccine symptom.
Also, women are more likely than men to develop symptoms. The milder-symptoms-foraged theory has been confirmed by a study of 5,396 healthcare workers put together by the Kochi branch of the Indian Medical Association. Dr Rajeev Jayadevan, head of the epidemiology cell of Kochi IMA who conducted the study, said 947 of the respondents were over 60 years of age.
The Kochi study, based on an online survey conducted between January 29 and February 4, also found that 66% of those vaccinated reported at least one post-inoculation symptom. The most reported symptoms were tiredness (45%), myalgia (44%), fever (34%), headache (28%), local pain at the infection site (27%), joint pain (12%), nausea (8%) and diarrhoea (3%).
The sharpest finding concerns the elderly who have accounted for almost 70% of mortalities caused by Covid-19 across the world. Infectious diseases specialist, Dr Tanu Singhal, from Kokilaben Ambani Hospital in Mumbai said, “People who are older have tolerated the vaccine better than younger people.”
A doctor from a municipal hospital in central Mumbai said the elderly have had fewer symptoms of shorter duration. Incidentally, the WHO a few days ago recommended use of the Covishield vaccine in people aged 65 years and older despite the lack of evidence about its efficacy in the age group.
“The chance of having symptoms decreased with advancing age. Older people also had later onset of symptoms, occurring at an average of 13.4 hours (70-79 years), compared to 10 hours in younger age groups (20-29 years) following vaccination,” Dr Jayadevan told TOI. About 80% of those who took the vaccine said the symptoms didn’t affect their work the next day. “Women were more likely to develop post-vaccination symptoms. This observation was consistent across all age groups,” said the study, which is in pre-print stage.
A sticky topic has been the reaction among recovered Covid-19 patients who took the vaccine: while some doctors said recovered patients showed more symptoms after the vaccine, the study from Kochi hasn’t found this.