Yukon residents warned second dose of COVID-19 vaccine tougher than the first

·2 min read

WHITEHORSE — Yukon officials say they still face challenges receiving promised supplies of COVID-19 vaccine but there's enough for second doses and health officials are preparing those people for what happens when they get the second jab.

Speaking at his weekly news conference in Whitehorse, Yukon's chief medical officer of health Dr. Brendan Hanley took a dramatic pause as he described the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine as a pain in the arm.

He says most people will notice the second dose more than the first, especially if they are under 65 years of age, with symptoms such as soreness, swelling at the injection site, a slight fever and muscle aches.

Hanley says the side-effects indicate the vaccine is working, the immune system is responding and the body is preparing to fight off COVID-19 if it were to attack.

He says only one to five per cent of people feel unwell enough not to work after the second vaccination, but many report feeling fatigued and he urges recipients to speak to their health-care provider if symptoms last longer than three days.

Hanley says 10,604 Yukon residents have received their first dose of vaccine, 830 have had the second shot, and with no active cases of the virus in the territory, vaccine rollout remains on track to wrap up by the end of April, if the promised supplies are delivered.

Uncertainty about the arrival date of the next shipment of 4.500 doses of vaccine has forced a delay in a planned immunization clinic for the general public in Whitehorse, and Hanley called on Yukon residents to limit gatherings, wear masks and wash their hands to slow the spread of the virus.

"While there are no active cases of COVID here, there are many cases within range of Yukon," he said. "We must continue to act as if COVID is here, even when it feels like something unlikely or far away."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 11, 2021.

The Canadian Press