A stand-up comedian from the UK has brilliantly explained why she's pro-vaccine, despite having a bad reaction to a meningitis B jab years ago.
In order to allay concerns around the Covid-19 vaccine, comedian and actor Sooz Kempner Tweeted about her experience.
Reactions to vaccines are rare (thanks to vigorous testing designed to ensure safety), and vary from vaccine to vaccine. Common reactions to the Meningococcal B (MenB) vaccine include pain, tenderness, redness, and swelling at the site of the injection. Uncommon side effects include fever, joint pain, and headaches. We'd describe the inability to understand the plot twist in The Sixth Sense (that Bruce Willis is actually a good actor) as a super rare event, maybe even unique.
"When I was 14 I had the meningitis jab at school," Kempner explained to IFLScience. "I was pretty good at doing the pins-through-the-skin-of-my-fingertips trick in home economics so needles weren’t an issue and on jab day I barely registered it had happened."
"The following day I went with fellow teens to see The Sixth Sense. Soon after it started I remember feeling very cold. I started to sweat, got a banging headache and things took on that dreamlike quality you get when in the depths of flu. At the end of the film I lurched out of the cinema and my friends saw that I’d bypassed going pale and just gone straight for grey and rather than get the train we just got James Hardie’s dad to take us home in his Ford Galaxy."
This is when she realized something was wrong.
"On the way back they were all going berserk about the crazy twist at the end of The Sixth Sense and I said '….what?'. I hadn’t clocked the twist at all, thought Bruce Willis had just been shot again right at the end. I now know the real twist (Haley Joel Osmond wasn’t real and Bruce Willis had imagined him)."
"For the next three days I was at home with a banging head, a fever and nausea. Then it was gone."
The MenB vaccine, as with Pfizer-BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine, is reactogenic, which means that when they work you will feel they are working. Trials have established both are safe, though there will be rare cases of side effects.
The key, as the BBC point out in a piece that's well worth a read if you have concerns, is to balance the risks with the benefits, and use your head not your gut. In terms of risks of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. For example, one person per thousand is reported to have had an allergic reaction during phase 3 trials, from which everybody swiftly recovered. Meanwhile, for every 1,000 confirmed to be infected with Covid-19 in the US, about 19 people die, rising to 35 people in the UK and 93 in Mexico.
In terms of the MenB vaccine, many people gave their own stories of the risk of not getting the vaccine.
"Having a reaction to the meningitis jab has never once made me consider not getting a vaccine because if three days of feeling rough at home is what I get from a vaccine imagine the havoc meningitis itself could wreak. Luckily I don’t have to imagine it because I got the vaccine along with the entirety of my year group (even Rachel Wales who was terrified of needles) and guess what, not one of us has died from meningitis," Sooz continued, explaining her own position.
"When the Covid vaccine is available to me I will chomp down on it like the Cookie Monster. I can’t wait. Literally pump it in to my veins."
For more information about Covid-19, check out the IFLScience Covid-19 hub where you can follow the current state of the pandemic, the progress of vaccine development, and further insights into the disease.