As the vaccine rollout momentum continues at an unstoppable pace, freedom beckons ever closer. With conveyor belt-like military precision each ‘tier’ of the population is receiving immunity – nearly 1000 jabs dispensed per minute, apparently. But is this a bittersweet blessing for some? Due to receive their vaccination today – the one-year anniversary of COVID’s first appearance in Europe - one Marfan patient felt anxious about potential side effects unique to connective tissue disorders. Would his immunity to COVID come at a price? Dr Child was on hand to dispel any worries he harboured!
Q: I am due for my vaccine next Wednesday, but the letter does not state which of the two it will be. As the appointment is at a leisure centre it could be the Pfizer. I googled the contents of both vaccines and found that those with connective tissue disorders might experience arthralgia (pain in a joint) and myalgia (muscle pain) which I see concern joint pain.
I wonder if Dr Child has any information as to whether Marfan syndrome is relevant to disclose and whether it might provoke an adverse reaction.
I am well, and looking forward to better times!
A: A very good question. You have no choice of vaccine - you must just accept whichever one is offered. At present, you are given a second appointment at the time of the first booking, usually 12 weeks later. There is evidence that good immunity is present 2 to 3 weeks after the first dose (about 75 per cent) and so precautions must be maintained until 2 weeks after the second dose when full immunity will be expected (about 90 per cent).
There is no evidence that Marfan syndrome is a contraindication to vaccination. You will be given a list of side effects at the first visit. They are looking for a serious allergic response to previous vaccines - that is the only contraindication.
You are advised not to drive yourself home, and to not go to work the following day. You may have headache, slight fever, intestinal symptoms and yes - muscle aches and joint pains - none serious.
Paracetamol (or your usual pain relief) is recommended for these symptoms, as well as for a sore arm.
The effects of catching Covid are far more serious than any vaccine side effects.
Go for it! -as soon as you are contacted. This will usually be by telephone, text or letter from your GP, and/or the local GP Alliance, and/or any hospital you attend.
The relief after the first dose is considerable!
All best wishes
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