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Vaccine side effect

Almost a week to the hour, my arm started to swell and develop a rash around the injection site.
It seems, from a look on the Internet, that this is fairly common, and is even referred to as "Moderna arm" or "Covid arm".

The mark of the plague!
The mark of the plague! Argh!

Since it's never good to rely on the internet for a medical diagnosis, I called my doctor. His secretary took my details and said she'd ask and call me back.
Forty five minutes later, she calls back and asks if I can pop around in the next ten to fifteen minutes. I say I'm driving a toy car so maybe twenty? No, too late.
Well excuse me!
Apparently he doesn't think it is anything to worry about (but just wanted to check all the same) and we've left it that I will get back in touch if it gets worse. Which is pretty much what I expected, but would rather hear that from an actual doctor than a random website.

I also have slightly swollen lymph glands, but I didn't mention this in the call. This is in keeping with what is going on. So, more digging. What is going on? Why has my arm suddenly gone kablooey?

Well, actually, this is a good thing, believe it or not. As mentioned last time, the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) don't present Covid to the immune system, they present a blueprint of the virus's spike protein. So inside the body, copies of this spike protein are being created (both around the injection site, and also in the lymph nodes where some of the RNA ended up). The body's immune system realises that something is wrong, and is treating this as an infection that needs to be sent packing.
It is technically an "overexuberant immune response", sort of along the lines of "nuke it from space". However, even as annoying and itchy as the swollen rash may be, it is a clear sign that: the vaccine was viable, it has successfully created the spike protein in the body, and the immune system is picking fights with it.
As to the actual mechanism here, it's basically unknown as the vaccines are very new and there's not a lot of data. Just like with the side effect that messes with heart tissue, the side effects are known but the underlying mechanism isn't.
This isn't really a surprise, mind you. The human body is extremely complex and while there's a lot that medicine knows, there's even more it doesn't. We're still arguing over the so-called "Gay gene" (Xq28 in case you care).

The Covid arm is an annoying symptom, but it shouldn't stop anybody getting their second injection (though, note, it'll probably happen again). It isn't life threatening, and it isn't related to anaphylactic shock (that happens rapidly after the vaccine is injected, not a week later). It's okay to take paracetamol or some sort of rub to sooth it - you won't interfere with the body responding to the is happening because your body is responding to the vaccine. It's also fairly rare, the American trial that lead to Moderna's emergency approval encountered 312 cases out of 30,000 participants.

Looking at the reportings, the majority of the patients were female (about 80%). The average time to the onset of symptoms is 2-12 days, with the majority being 7 days. This drops to around two days average following the second injection. The reaction usually lasts for about five days, though some had the reaction for up to 21 days. Nobody had the reaction immediately following the injection. No adverse events were observed, just an annoying rash (which may be localised to the injection site, or cover slightly more of the arm).
And... it is definitely known to happen with Moderna. There are conflicting reports as to whether or not Pfizer causes it. The Chimp-flu method (AstraZeneca/J&J) does not have this side effect.
It's not known whether it is related to the RNA information, or whether it is related to one of the many other things in the injection.


What's in Moderna's vaccine?

Oh boy... Okay, so the first important thing is the mRNA. This is a "messenger ribonucleic acid". It is the active ingredient, and the thing that we're trying to get into the body. As I mentioned last time, it is not an actual virus (inactive or otherwise), it is a blueprint of how the spike protein is created. Eventually, the mRNA will make it to the cytoplasm of our cells. At this point, the spike protein can be created. The mRNA's job is then done and it basically gets broken down and discarded. The mRNA never enters the cell nucleus, it cannot. It needs things call "importins" to enter, and "exportins" to leave again; I'm not making this up, go Wiki for "Nuclear transport" for more details.
In addition to this, mRNA simply isn't the same thing as DNA, so even if they were together, they can't combine to alter your generic code and give you bunny ears.
As such, anybody who tells you that the mRNA vaccines can mess with your DNA is not somebody you should be taking medical advice from. Or any advice at all, come to think of it.

The next ingredient are "lipids". That's a fancy way of saying "fatty gunk". The point of them is to protect the mRNA and help them be able to slide into the cells in order to do their thing.
The main component of the lipid nanoparticles is SM-102. This is an amino lipid that has the insane formula C44H87NO5, or is properly known as...heptadecan-9-yl 8-{(2-hydroxyethyl0[6-oxo-6-(undecloxy)hexyl]amino}octanoate.
The others? The mildly less insanely named 1,2-dimyristoyl-rac-glycero3-methoxypolyethylene glycol-2000, and cholesterol, and finally 1,2-distearoyl-snglycero-3-phosphocholine. All good healthy parts of a well balanced diet.

Finally, a bunch of acids, acid stabilisers, salts, and sugar in order to keep the vaccine stable after it has been produced and to help the molecules retain their shape during freezing.
Acetic acid (uh, isn't that just vinegar?), Tromethamine and tromethamine hydrochloride, sodium acetate (technically the sodium salt of acetic acid), and finally sucrose.

Fun facts about sodium acetate: in the form of a food additive (E262), it may be added in small amounts to potato crisps to give a salt and vinegar flavour. It's also the primary ingredient in those little heat pads where you click a metal gizmo inside and suddenly the stuff inside the pad goes solid and warms up. Hmm... and people wonder why there are side effects. ☺
Actually, the salt of acetic acid along with acetic acid forms a pH-stable buffer solution which helps to counteract the acidity inside the body so it doesn't destroy the mRNA before it actually gets to do anything.


What about the secret tracker so Bill Gates and keep tabs on everybody?

First of all, I don't really see Gates wanting to keep track of everybody. That's more Zuckerberg's wet dream. Secondly, anybody who has used one of these Covid tracking apps will be aware that keeping Bluetooth active all the time in order to catch that plague-infested zombie you had the misfortune of walking past...will know that it doesn't do good things to the phone's battery life.
This is a short distance broadcast/receiver (about 4-10 metres max in normal conditions) powered from a large battery.
And we're supposed to understand that it's possible to make some sort of coded transmitter small enough to be injected using a regular style of syringe? How does it transmit? Where's the antenna? How is it powered? You can't just push something into the body and have it magically work from body energy. These people, they do realise that broadcasting takes quite a bit of power, right? And anyway, how does it actually know where you are? Some sort of fancy triangulation with 5G towers? Or does this thing come with built-in GPS? I hope it works better indoors than mine! Oh, and did I mention, the entire thing including power source has to be small enough that it can be injected and small enough that it won't be visible to anybody who looks at the vaccine syringe.

Not to mention, the whole idea that megacorps want to track your every movement (beyond that which your mobile phone spews out) reeks of self-aggrandisation. For the vast majority - you just aren't that important. I'm certainly not.
It's a dumb theory.


A peaceful place to write

No WiFi signal here, though. :-/
On the other hand, gentle breeze and sun through the leaves and plenty of birdsong. :-)

A peaceful place to write.
A peaceful place to write.



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Rick, 2nd July 2021, 22:05
Just did my heart measurement (after some gardening) and it was a more pleasing ♥️ 102/68. My pulse was a little high at 81bpm, but I'm sitting in bed now, so time to ❄️.
David Pilling, 3rd July 2021, 01:34
Interesting, not heard of that. Hope you're OK. At what point are you going to worry your bp is too low. Low bp can be a symptom of infection. Then you get people who faint when they stand up too quickly. 
Presumably the treatment is lifestyle change, Big Mac and Gitanes. 

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