From Pfizer to AstraZeneca and Moderna – most common side effects of each jab revealed

HEADACHE and fatigue have been revealed as the most common side effects of the Covid vaccines used in the UK.

Data from one million people show for each of the AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna jabs, the symptoms in the following days differ slightly.

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A descending list of the most frequently reported problems was compiled by Professor Tim Spector, an epidemiologist at King’s College London (KCL).

Prof Spector is the lead researcher on the ZOE Covid study, which tracks symptoms of the disease, vaccines and the size of the outbreak.

Using data for app users, Prof Spector said most people reported a headache after the AstraZeneca jab, followed by fatigue.

For the Pfizer and Moderna jabs, it was fatigue followed by headache.

Chills or shivers and joint pain were typical for all three jabs, while a runny nose and nausea were some of the least common. 

But Prof Spector, writing on Twitter, said only one in five people feel unwell after a vaccine dose overall.

Younger people are more likely to be affected, understood to be because their immune activity is stronger.

However this does not mean they are any more protected than older people.

Some 60 per cent of adults in the UK have now had a first jab, with first vaccine dose figures nearing to 35 million.


KCL scientists are also investigating if vaccination can alter a woman's periods.

Some women have reported to the ZOE app that their periods are heavier, occuring unexpectedly and even after the menopause.

Prof Spector said: "At the moment there is just a few hundred of these, which given we have over about 6,000 women reporting, is a small number.

"But we are taking it seriously… we want to make a note of it to see if it's real or just a statistical quirk."

Meanwhile data shows people who have caught Covid after a vaccination have not been as unwell.

The vaccines protect against severe disease and death, but are not 100 per cent effective.

Some people will catch the virus but typically will have milder symptoms.

Data is also now showing that the jabs also protect against infection to some degree on a population level by slowing down transmission.

Prof Spector said: “Because we are now getting lots of cases of Covid after vaccination, with several hundred after two and several thousand after one, those cases are different. 

“We’ve shown they are actually milder, and whereas in the past about half of people had classic symptoms in the first week, less than a third do now if they've had a vaccination.

“So you'll get less symptoms, less severe and won't be classica. So do keep an open mind.”

What are the odds of you getting Covid tomorrow?

Prof Spector said the app data shows levels of infection remain low at around the rate it was in summer 2020.

Based on prevalence of the virus right now, he said: “Your chance of having it tomorrow are pretty low, about one in 47,000 if you are still waiting for a vaccination, one in 98,000 if you’ve had one jab, and less than one in 170,000 if you’ve had the two vaccinations.”

This varies across the country, as cases are currently lower in the south of England compared to the north.

But generally the UK is seeing a relatively positive transition out of the pandemic compared to the rest of Europe.

And Prof Spector supported the opinion of Prof Neil Ferguson, who this week said the threat of a“third wave” is diminishing.

The Imperial College London's professor, dubbed "Professor Lockdown" for forcing the Government into the first lockdown, told BBC Radio 4: "The period we still have concerns about, we have concerns about but they are diminishing is really late summer early autumn.

"If we are going to see another wave of transmission that's where it would take place, but the new data on vaccines coming out is evermore encouraging."

He said that "no one wants to see vaccinations undermined" by variants of concern, however.

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