If sport is part of your life, and the need to get vaccinated is coming, this article will be useful to you in terms of planning additional training.
An important disclaimer: We recognize everyone’s right to decide how to manage their personal health and life in general. However, the editors do not share conspiracy theories (in order to sell more vaccines, turn the population into biobots, etc.), so these anti-vaxxer comments and the like will be deleted.
Now let’s get to the topic itself.
What is vaccination: in brief
When a vaccine enters the body, we kind of offer it training before it encounters a real pathogen.
The vaccine contains a weakened or killed version of the pathogen or part of it. This component does not cause disease, but activates the immune system, which in response produces antibodies and carries out a number of other processes involved in the elimination of the pathogen.
The so-called immune response, which is the basis of acquired immunity, is being prepared.
So when a real virus enters the body, the immune system will be ready for it.
Why should a runner get vaccinated?
Save health and life
The dominant reasons for jogging among the majority of amateur athletes now are to maintain health and a positive psychological state.
Vaccination will help you not to get sick or to avoid the serious consequences of Covid and to continue training.
The figures support this thesis:
- According to the Israeli Ministry of Health, the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine in preventing severe COVID-19 and the risk of hospitalization is around 93%.
- Information from Public Health England: The Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are 88% and 60% effective respectively in preventing mild COVID-19.
- Johnson & Johnson has shown that its vaccine is 71% effective against hospitalization for the Delta strain and 95% effective against death (Yale Medicine).
- US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data: Unvaccinated people account for more than 97% of all COVID-19 hospitalizations.
Summary information on the effectiveness of different types of vaccines is given in the table (for any form, symptomatic, severe form, death due to infection and hospitalization, respectively):
And here’s another graph with a summary of vaccine effectiveness.
Don’t lose your fitness
In some cases, the disease takes all the force – seriously ill runners note the deterioration of their sports conditions for six months or a year.
Recovery to the previous form may take a very long time, if at all, it is possible to fully recover.
We are talking about the so-called long-COVID (or “post-COVID syndrome”) – a whole orchestra of disorders, both psychological and physical, which worsen the quality of life for a long time, after the infection has been formally eliminated.
To save money
Finally, getting sick with COVID-19 is expensive.
With a severe course of the disease and a high occupancy of medical beds, you will have to contact commercial clinics. A stay in the intensive care unit will cost from 400 to 500 dollars / day (prices of Kyiv clinics).
And even if you get sick at home, drug expenses for COVID-19 and other complications will cost a significant amount.
Promote health in society
With a high level of vaccination against COVID-19, the transmission of the disease does not disappear but will decrease significantly. And most importantly, the mortality caused by the disease or its consequences will decrease significantly.
This is how herd immunity (and herd liability) works.
An example is the Ukrainian city of Morshyn, where 75% of the adult population has been vaccinated: as of November 1, there were 29 cases and zero deaths caused by covid.
Participate in departures
Despite the fact that the risk of catching covid during competitions is extremely low, the conditions for admission to these have changed to take infection into account.
Thus, this year almost all major marathons have taken place, creating “gold standards” of safety measures for participants. But even a marathon or a half marathon will take place in your city, you will probably need vaccination confirmation or a negative PCR test or other document indicating that you are formally in good health.
Planning abroad to start if you are not vaccinated is more difficult for the same reason.
Side effects after vaccination
Vaccine reactions. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has collected data for each of the approved COVID vaccines for at least two months after the last dose.
The following most common reactions have been identified:
- increased fatigue;
Muscle pain (body aches);
At the injection site (local):
Side effects after the second injection may be worse than after the first injection.
These are all normal signs – your body is building up a defense against infection and these manifestations will disappear within hours or, at most, days.
In some cases, there may be no manifestation at all. Everyone is different: our genes are different, our way of life is different and, therefore, our immune responses are different.
Side effects. According to the CDC, approximately 1,200 cases of myocarditis have been reported in people who received the Covid-19 vaccine a few days after the second dose with a probability of 0.00126%. The risk group is mainly made up of men between the ages of 12 and 39.
Allergic manifestations are also possible, as a rule, in those who have already had a history of allergic reactions and forgot to mention it when coming for vaccination (this is a contraindication). The second injection should be permanently canceled and treated appropriately after consultation with an allergist.
The benefits of vaccination outweigh the known potential risks. And yet – according to this study, those who are actively involved in sports respond more strongly to the vaccine. In other words, their immune response is more powerful.
When to worry:
- If the redness or pain at the injection site is greatly increased after 24 hours.
- If the side effects do not go away after a few days.
- There were signs of heart damage: shortness of breath, pain in the chest or in the left arm, scapula, shoulder (radiation), severe pallor of the skin, swelling of the lower extremities.
- There are signs of an allergic reaction: itching, redness and rash, sneezing, stuffy nose, watery eyes, redness, itchy eyes. Especially: if all these allergic symptoms appeared immediately and together after the injection, combined with general edema and increasing suffocation – angioedema (urgent help is needed here).
In these cases, you should immediately contact the doctors and not self-medicate.
Recommendations to reduce the discomfort of “side effects”:
- Cool compress on the injection site and light exercise on the upper limbs;
- Plentiful drink at room temperature, correct air and temperature conditions in the room, dress warmer if you feel chills, but change wet clothes regularly.
- If you have a fever and profuse sweating, you can take vitamin C. In general, act like you have SARS;
- It is better to take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs only on the recommendation of a doctor if the temperature has risen above 38, and in no case BEFORE vaccination (this may affect the formation of an immune response).
So can we do sports or not? How to resume training
Universal recommendations, as you already understood, cannot be. But a few very generalized ones still exist.
Ideally, give yourself a break from running on the day of vaccination and for 1-2 days afterward.
This will help the body recover better. In addition, in the event of serious side effects, you will have time to return to your duties.
But increased training will lead to prolonged muscle soreness and more severe fatigue.
The Singapore Ministry of Health usually talks about a one-week break in cardio training after the first and second dose.
Listen to your body
The obvious advice is that if you feel terrible after the vaccination, you shouldn’t go for a run.
The more severe the side effects, the more rest you need. Even if you feel good and still decide to go for a run, make it an easy and gentle workout, during which you better listen to yourself.
We have no data to suggest that the vaccine becomes less effective due to exercise before or after vaccination.
Adjust your training plan
Here is a recommendation primarily for professional athletes and those looking for results.
Even if you are a particular type of ultra who is used to training no matter how you feel, still put off intense training for a few days. It’s better than going into tempos/intervals/longs then breaking them up when you realize you’re not pulling in the process.
Increased fatigue often accompanies the period following vaccination. If you really want to play sports and you feel strong in yourself, do stretching exercises, do Pilates, yoga (not intensively) or other cross training. And then gradually switch to running training.
Preparing for vaccination and “ordinary life”
Be prepared for a scenario where side effects can be serious.
Take the day off and plan a day in bed with Netflix and Nutella. Prepare everything you need to make this time as comfortable as possible.
If you have experienced serious side effects from the vaccine, resume training gradually
And consult your doctor first. In this case, the diet will be the same as if you had the disease.
The scientific data we relied on when creating this text suggests that you need to get vaccinated to stay healthy and alive.
There is also the possibility of side effects, especially after the second dose. In most cases, this is normal – this is how the body forms immunity.
Prepare in advance: plan a rest, and modify the training plan.
Listen to your body, go for easy runs and gentle cross-training, even if you have the strength. And remove intense training for at least a few days – give the body time to recover and build a high-quality immune barrier.
In case of bad luck and if the side effects are significant, resume training gradually, as after an illness. And after consulting a doctor.
Also, skip official starts for at least 3 days after the first dose and four days after the second dose. Common sense suggests that a one-week break before departure would be a good solution.
Everyone runs and doesn’t get sick.