This is what happens inside your body when you get your COVID shot:
Vaccination against the coronavirus is our only way to fight it. Governments all over the world are encouraging people to get vaccinated as soon as possible. A little over 65 crores doses have been administered in India so far and around 15 crore people are fully vaccinated. However, there are still some people who are scared of getting vaccinated due to its side effects.
To ease out your anxiety, here we try to explain what happens inside your body after getting vaccinated and why some people get common side effects, while others don’t.
What happens when you get vaccinated?
Vaccination is the process of acquiring immunity to fight off future infection. Vaccines have an agent resembling the virus, bacteria or parasite causing the disease, which in case of COVID-19 is the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The vaccine has either a weakened or dead microorganism, its toxins or a surface protein. It has the virus’s genetic material, which can then be read by the body to formulate the immune system response.
When the vaccine is injected, the agent goes into the cells of our tissues. Thereafter, it captures the attention of certain ‘dendritic’ cells, which have a specific function to monitor intruders that might have entered the body. The patrolling cells notice this never before seen agent and alarm the body against it.
Why do some people experience side effects after getting the shot?
Most side effects caused by the vaccine are signs that the immune system is responding the way it is supposed to. Some common side effects of COVID-19 vaccination include soreness or swelling at the injection site, fatigue, headache, fever, chills, nausea and muscular pain.
The vaccines trick the system into believing that an actual pathogen has entered the body as it cannot tell the difference between the vaccine agent and the actual virus. The white blood cells rush to the spot to break down the virus and antibodies then attack the debris spread around from the breakdown. This makes the spot of injection akin to a tiny battlefield.