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What are the side-effects of vaccinations?

Before you have a vaccination, your doctor or nurse will check that it’s safe to give it to you. They’ll also go through the possible side-effects with you. Common side-effects for all viral vaccinations may include:

  • a mild fever
  • pain at the injection site (this can be treated with paracetamol).

Many people with a rheumatic condition worry that vaccinations will cause a flare-up of their symptoms. However, trials have found that this isn’t the case. For example, one study showed no link between any specific vaccine (flu, tetanus, diphtheria, tick-borne encephalitis, hepatitis, polio, pneumococcus) and the risk of a flare-up of rheumatoid arthritis.

There’s also no evidence that people with rheumatic conditions or who are on DMARDs are at higher risk of side-effects, and for most people the advantages of vaccination outweigh the risks.

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