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When should you need to worry about vaccine side effects?

Last Updated Apr 21, 2021 at 7:39 am MDT

CALGARY (CityNews) — Gen X’ers lined up to get the AstraZeneca vaccine in Calgary on Tuesday, a vaccine associated with a very small risk of developing blood clots. While it’s incredibly rare, what are the signs and symptoms you need to worry about, or not worry about after you get it?

“Well the normal side effect is you’ll get a pain in your arm when you get it injected into your arm, so they’re putting fluid in there, so slight discomfort is very common,” said infectious disease expert Dr. Daniel Gregson.

In addition, some people might feel tired, a little unwell, muscle aches and pains and a slight fever – usually that disappears in 24 hours.

“Your immune cells recognize that there’s something that’s been implanted into your arm – and they’re starting to respond to that,” he said.

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Those lining up to get their vaccines in downtown Calgary on Tuesday didn’t seem too concerned about the small risks associated.

“There’s just too much science out there right now,” said one person lined up at the Telus Convention Centre.

“I feel that the minor side effects that they have is much less than COVID itself,” said another.

There is a very rare chance, less than 1 in 100,000 that someone could develop a blood clot from the AstraZeneca vaccine – somewhere between 4 and 28 days after injection.

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“People will notice generally headaches, feeling unwell, some abdominal pain, and maybe some bruising or bleeding,” said Gregson.

But, he stresses, despite the many headlines that have been generated by this rare side effect, your chances of developing it are very low. And your chances of actually dying from it? Even less.

“Skiing for more than five days a year, and biking more than 100km is going to be a higher risk of death than what you’re going to see with this vaccine.”