Ghanaian citizens have started receiving COVID-19 vaccine services following the rollout of the 600,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines received from COVAX, a global scheme to procure free coronavirus jabs for poorer countries.

Amidst a second wave of coronavirus infections and 611 related-deaths, health authorities in the West African nation are working to tackle vaccine misinformation to ensure a successful vaccination campaign, with the Ghana Food and Drugs Authority(FDA) assuring the public that it has given approval for the vaccine.

However, some members of the public still harbour doubts (here, here and here) about the vaccine and are questioning whether there are any side effects after taking the jabs.


What to expect after taking a COVID-19 vaccine?

According to manufacturers of the AstraZeneca vaccine, like all medicines, the vaccine can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them.

Meanwhile, the United States’ Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also said that the vaccine offers protection against COVID-19 and while you may experience some side effects after taking the jab, it is normal and indicates your body is building immunity against the virus.

The following side effects may occur with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca:

Very Common (may affect more than 1 in 10 people)

  • Tenderness, pain, warmth, itching, or bruising where the injection is given
  • Feeling tired (fatigue) or generally feeling unwell
  • Chills or feeling feverish
  • Headache
  • Feeling sick (nausea)
  • Joint pain or muscle ache

 Common (may affect up to 1 in 10 people)

  • Swelling or redness where the injection is given
  • Fever (>38°C)
  • Being sick (vomiting) or diarrhoea

Uncommon (may affect up to 1 in 100 people)

  • sleepiness or feeling dizzy
  • decreased appetite
  • enlarged lymph nodes
  • excessive sweating, itchy skin or rash


Reporting of side effects

The manufacturers encourage that you get urgent medical attention if you get symptoms of a severe allergic reaction. Such reactions may include a combination of any of the following symptoms:

  • Feeling faint or light-headed
  • Changes in your heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Swelling of your lips, face, or throat
  • Hives or rash
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Stomach pain.


Ghana FDA

The Food and Drugs Authority, Ghana has amplified the above-listed common side effects in a video advertisement published via its Facebook page meant to create awareness about the country’s vaccination programme.


According to Ghana FDA, the symptoms should last for about a week and that persons with more severe symptoms to report to the nearest health facility, the vaccinating centre or directly to the FDA through the ‘Med Safety Mobile App’.

“Keep in mind that it is rare for serious problems to be directly caused by vaccines,” the FDA has assured.


Researched by Sani Abdul-Rahman