At the time of writing this article, it has been just over 24 hours since my sister, Grace, was vaccinated for COVID-19 (she is classified as clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus). We arrived 15 minutes early at The Junction Health Centre, my mum checked with a volunteer whether this was okay, and whether I was also allowed in with them. The answer to both was yes, the volunteer checked our temperatures, and we went in. The doctor called us into the nearest room, asked us some simple questions, then gave my sister the jab. We were asked to wait another 15 minutes inside the centre to make sure she didn’t have an allergic reaction to the vaccine, and then, simple as that, we went home, feeling much more at ease than we had been during the whole pandemic.

It seems simple, right? It was safe, it was quick, and we had no issues whatsoever. However, to some people, the arrival of the vaccine was a cause for concern rather than celebration, with some considering it to have been rushed or unsafe, therefore, to banish these fears, it seems necessary to take an in-depth look at the facts on whether the Covid vaccine is effective and safe, and when evaluating the evidence, it seems they should not be concerned about it. 

The vaccine has rarely caused serious side effects

According to the NHS website, “most side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are mild and should not last longer than a week”. From my personal observations, I can tell you my sister was in some discomfort due to a slight pain in her arm, but otherwise felt normal. According to Dr Alison Conlin, whom I spoke to on the matter of the vaccine’s side effects, “Side effects are rare” with examples including “painful arm for 48 hours, fever, headache muscle aches for 24-48 hours”. 

Furthermore, reports of allergic reactions to the vaccine have been uncommon, but the questions patients are required to answer include one regarding whether they have ever had allergic reactions to medication before, and as a precautionary measure, after being dosed with the vaccine, you are asked to wait 15 minutes before leaving the premises in order to ensure you could be treated if you suffered an immediate allergic reaction to the jab.

The vaccine has been safely tested and is effective

Despite fears that the COVID-19 vaccine was rushed, over 43,000 people were test subjects in testing the Pfizer vaccine, and it was proven to be 95% effective, illustrating that there has been significant, safe testing with a positive outcome in the high success rate. Whilst the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine only had a success rate of 62%, it is important to note that lengthening the gap between jabs of this vaccine increased the success rate to 70%, with the Pfizer vaccine being the more frequently supplied version currently. Dr Conlin states that “the production and approval of COVID-19 vaccines was not rushed. mRNA vaccines [such as Pfizer] have been around for quite a while. Over 70,000 doses have been tested in the mRNA phase 3 clinical trials so far without any safety concerns. It was just prioritised and conducted at increased speed. This was possible to due to open and transparent sharing of information amongst researchers during the process and adjustments of ‘red tape’ processes.”


The vaccine contains no animal products

Finally, whilst when the vaccine was first announced to be available to those most at risk from COVID-19, there were fears over whether the vaccine contained animal products, with rumours circulating that it contained pork. However, this can again be disproved by the information provided by the NHS website- “the approved COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any animal products or egg”.