Sunday 13 June 2021

One PwME’s Covid-19 Vaccination Side-Effects

Last Thursday morning, a peripatetic nurse came round to give me my first shot of a Covid-19 vaccination. And I was thrilled to bits. Ninety minutes after the wee prick there were no nasty after-effects.

Twelve hours later, when I went to sleep, there were no ill-effects.

But I awoke around midnight with my teeth chattering like mechanical machinery and my whole body shivering. Additionally my upper-arm had become stiff. At three-thirty I woke up to all my bedclothes and nightwear thoroughly drenched in sweat. Yack! I hoped that was the end of the side-effects…

At heading towards forty-eight hours after my jab, I had slept for most of twenty-four hours. All my bones felt super-chilled. I just could not get warm, despite the sweat on my pillowcases suggesting I was burning up. 

I awoke at six-thirty in the evening for some toast and hot-milk. Basically I was off food.

At ten, with a sense of hope, I settled down for the night… Well I woke up several times. I ended up changing my PJs twice due to dampness. I had an insipient migraine which once I awoke neither developed nor faded. There was hardly any stiffness in my arm from then. So, all things considered I thought I might be on the mend. And I am sure I read that if one develops symptoms, it means one’s body is working to manufacture what is required to fight Covid-19.

So, seventy-two hours after my jab, it looks like no more chills, no more fevers and finally the return of my appetite! All that is left is soreness around the needle-point if touched and some slight swelling. Okay, I took a tad longer than the typical 24-48 hours for recovery, but I did do so finally.

My G.P. has advised me that I shall not be waiting the governmental 12-weeks between vaccination one & two, but should have the second in 6-8 weeks - so hopefully sometime in August. Then one has to wait a couple of weeks for maximum coverage.

Given how bad being infected by Covid-19 could be for people with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (pwME), I personally have no compunction in recommending having the vaccinations. However, I am not medically trained. As ever, I strongly suggest one takes one’s own due diligence as well as consulting with one’s personal professional medics. It took my G.P. (family-doctor) six months to reach a decision on whether having the vaccination was medically appropriate and, if so, which vaccine to submit to.

[Image description: the writer’s vaccination receipt]

Below are the edited texts from my correspondence with my G.P.

December 2020

Given I have had anaphylaxis from eating garlic and that I get rashes &/or vomit if I consume other members of the onion-family, and also given the [Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency] MHRA’s current advice, I do not consider that I should have this specific vaccination. Do you concur? If not, please provide me with reasoning and a link or two to any relevant info.

March 2021

The latest advice from the ME Association [MEA] is for pwME to have the [AstraZeneca] AZ vaccination. Their reasoning being that it was tested on Brits and therefore probably is the least risky to us.

A large survey carried out by an M.E./F.M.S. support-group out in the US, found that severe-reäctions to any of the vaccines were roughly evenly spread across the four types used there. So it seems to me, it probably would not matter which vaccine I am given - but taking account of potential anaphylaxis as above!

May 2021

As far as I can tell the MEA has not updated its advice re vaccination. At the end of April, which is running a survey of M.E. & F.M.S sufferers worldwide noted that:

“People with ME/CFS/FM still appear to be having more trouble with the AstraZeneca shot. Thirty-seven percent report having a severe reaction to the first shot, and 16% reported they were still having symptoms a month later. Not enough data was available for the second shot.”

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If you consider I ought to have the vaccine, I believe it is your clinical judgement which must decide whether or not any type is preferable or not; so I shall accept your recommendation, with the proviso that I suffer from known allergies.


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