What are the side-effects of booster shots and how to prevent them
- While Covid vaccines can protect people from severe illness and death, it is also known to have some side-effects - mostly ranging from minor to moderate.
Amid the rising cases of Covid-19, India has started administering booster shots to frontline workers and senior citizens with co-morbidities from January 10 onwards. Many countries across the globe are looking at booster shots with hope as a highly-transmissible Omicron variant leads to a huge surge in the number of cases worldwide.
While Covid vaccines can protect people from severe illness and death, it is also known to have some side-effects - mostly ranging from minor to moderate. In case of booster dose too, experts say there are no additional side effects than the routine Covid vaccination that are being reported.
To minimise these side-effects, it is recommended to take utmost care of your health by including balanced diet in your meals, staying hydrated and taking adequate sleep. Avoiding alcohol, smoking and staying away from junk food is also advised to people post their booster shot.
Experts say that the side-effects are generally lower in case of booster doses compared to the first and the second dose and there is absolutely no reason to worry.
"When someone undergoes vaccination, depending upon the vaccine make, different type of viral antigen is introduced in our body. These antigens are meant to generate some antibody reaction so that when the actual virus attacks, our pre-existing antibody can neutralise it. Since it is a reaction of our body, it is not very rare to see someone developing mild fever, body ache and some sore throat. These effects are more common with first dose and relatively less common after the second dose and even less in the booster dose," says
Dr Ravi Shekhar Jha Additional Director & HOD - Pulmonology, Fortis Escorts Hospital Faridabad.
Fever, headache, fatigue, pain and swelling at the injection site remain the common side-effects for booster doses.
"Generally, the side-effects are mild, and one shouldn’t worry. You need to take medication as advised by the doctor. These minimal side-effects should not stop you from getting a booster shot. However, serious side-effects rarely occur," says Dr. Jinendra Jain, Consultant Physician, Wockhardt Hospital, Mira Road.
Tips to follow before and after booster shot
One should avoid going for the vaccination empty stomach and consume heavy, fried or spicy foods. Do not smoke or drink and consume caffeinated beverages, says Deepti Khatuja, Head – Clinical Nutritionist, Fortis Memorial Research Institute Gurgaon.
Khatuja also offers tips to minimise the side effects of booster shots
* Have small and frequent meals.
* Drink plenty of water. Hydration is important.
* Optimize nutritional intake with special focus on proteins and easily digestible food like curd.
* Add diet diversity-food from each food group.
* Have at least 5-8 serving of fruits and vegetables
* Increase probiotics or prebiotics and fibre in diet.
* Limit consumption of highly processed food and include more of seasonal and whole foods like whole cereals and millets, whole pulses etc.
Avoid smoking and alcohol which adversely affects immunity and risk and severity of infections.
"In the view of Omicron, those who are eligible to take a booster shot shouldn’t delay taking it. The booster shot will help in dealing with the new strains of the virus," concludes Dr Jain.