‘It’s pot luck’ GP tells BBC Breakfast vaccine side effects have ‘no rhyme or reason’

COVID-19 vaccine side effects are 'pot luck' says expert

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Speaking to BBC Breakfast’s Nina Warhurst on Saturday, Doctor Rosemary Leonard was explaining why some people experience side effects following the vaccine while others don’t. She said that although there wasn’t a logical reason as to why some will experience symptoms after being vaccinated, younger people are likely to react due to their stronger immune systems.

“Can I just ask you about vaccine symptoms?” Nina said.

“Because I’m in the age group now where my friends have started taking it, I’ve had it – and it feels like everybody has had a completely different experience.

“Is there a rhyme or reason to how you react to the vaccine? Is it if you’ve had Covid maybe the symptoms are stronger, or if you’re smaller it feels worse? Or is it just pot luck?”

“It does appear to be simple pot luck,” Doctor Rosemary replied.

She explained: “We are seeing more side effects in younger people compared to older people.

“I’ve had older people come in and say ‘well, did you actually give me the vaccine? I didn’t feel a thing, I was absolutely fine.’

“And younger people – the common thing I hear when I’m giving the second vaccines is they say ‘I felt absolutely rubbish for one or two days afterwards’ and that kind of says it all.”

She continued: “Yesterday evening I was doing vaccines and I said ‘you may have a rotten day today, you may not but the main thing is you’re being protected against the virus.'”

“Absolutely, that’s the most important thing,” Nina said.

“And so there’s no physiological reason then why younger people would react in a more extreme way than older people?”

The GP explained: “We are noticing a lot of it, it’s probably because of a stronger immune response.

“Their immune system is really kicking in, producing antibodies which is great. But it doesn’t mean to say that if you didn’t have a reaction you aren’t going to have immunity.

“It’s probably to do with a stronger immune response in the younger people.”

Earlier in the interview, the doctor had said that people who have been vaccinated should “not be worried at all” about the rising Indian variant of coronavirus in the UK.

“The vast majority of these cases have been in 10 to 19-year-olds,” she said.

“These are teenagers at school, and that’s where the virus is spreading – it’s amongst young people.

“The good news is that they don’t become seriously ill and the hospitalisation rate is staying very, very low.

“There’s been really good evidence that the vaccines, particularly after two doses, give you really good protection against this variant.

“So that’s the good news, the people that are getting it who are driving those figures aren’t becoming seriously ill.”

BBC Breakfast airs daily at 6am on BBC One.

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