Personal Experiences of Coronavirus Vaccine Side Effects in Japan

Are side effects more severe if you get the Moderna vaccine? Is it true that most people get a sore arm after they get the vaccine? For any of you who have curiosities about the coronavirus vaccine side effects, Smiles’ team members came together to help answer your questions. Members took a survey about their personal experiences in terms of side effects from either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and the results are here. 

The first coronavirus vaccine was given in the US in mid-December of 2020, just a year after the outbreak. Japan had its first look at coronavirus vaccines in mid-February according to TimeOut’s article. People finally had something to help reduce the coronavirus side effects, which caused numerous deaths. 

From the first rollout to October 10, 2021, Japan has fully vaccinated almost 65% of its population.

vaccinated data japan oct 10

The remaining still need to receive their second dose or they’re still curious about the vaccine. For those who are still wondering about the side effects and want to feel reassured that the vaccine is proven to not seriously harm you, you’ve come to the right place. 

Over 30 team members at Smiles Mobile Remittance have come together and gathered personal experiences from the coronavirus vaccines in Japan by taking a survey. There were two types of surveys with nine questions each: one for those who got the Moderna vaccine and one for those who got Pfizer. 13 participants got the Pfizer vaccine and 18 got Moderna. Personal experiences are mainly focused on the side effects of coronavirus vaccines. The majority of the vaccinations took place in September 2021 as it indicates that Japan made vaccines more available at that time.

Before we share the side effects of the coronavirus vaccines, here are some Japanese words related to this topic that we think would be helpful:

  • Vaccine – ワクチン (wakuchin)
  • Immunization – 予防接種 (yobousesshu)
  • Coronavirus – コロナウィルス (koronauirusu)
  • Pfizer – ファイザー (faizaa)
  • Moderna – モデルナ (moderuna)
  • Side effect – 副反応 (fukuhannou)

Table of Contents

1. How many days did you experience side effects after you had your first vaccine?

As you can see from the results below, the majority of the team members who received their first Moderna vaccine in Japan only experienced side effects for one day. Pfizer, on the other hand, had an equal number of people who experienced side effects for one day or no side effects at all of 30.8% of each answer. For the Moderna vaccine, 5.6% of them had side effects for 4 days or more.

No. of days experiencing side effects after first dose of Pfizer
No. of days experiencing side effects after first dose of Moderna

Source: Survey results from Smiles Mobile Remittance team members (Oct. 2021)

2. When did you start feeling a bit ill after your first vaccine?

For this question, we asked the team members how soon they started feeling their side effects after they received their vaccination. Almost half of the members who got the Pfizer vaccine ended up feeling sick the same night they got it. Nearly 40% after they got their first shot of Pfizer. As for those who got the Moderna vaccine, close to a third of them felt off the same night and another third of them started getting their side effects just a few hours afterwards. Moderna shows that it caused more reactions than the Pfizer vaccine.

When did you start feeling a bit ill after first dose of Pfizer
When did you start feeling a bit ill after first dose of Moderna

Source: Survey results from Smiles Mobile Remittance team members (Oct. 2021)

3. What side effect(s) did you experience after getting the first vaccine?

In comparison, the most common side effects people experience after they receive either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine are getting a sore arm and feeling muscle aches. No one who got the Moderna vaccine did not get a high fever, whereas not one person experienced nausea or vomiting after they received the Pfizer vaccine.

Vaccine side effects experienced after the first dose

Source: Survey results from Smiles Mobile Remittance team members (Oct. 2021)

4. How many days did you experience side effects after you had your second vaccine?

For the second dose of vaccines, the number of days the members experienced side effects was very different from the first dose. This time, almost 40% of members who got the second dose of Pfizer had side effects for two days. Moderna, on the other hand, ended up being shorter with over 60% of the members experiencing side effects for only one day. Team members who didn’t get any side effects were mainly the ones who got Pfizer.

No. of days experiencing side effects after second dose of Pfizer
No. of days experiencing side effects after second dose of Moderna

Source: Survey results from Smiles Mobile Remittance team members (Oct. 2021)

5. When did you start feeling a bit ill after your second vaccine?

Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines showed very different results after team members got their second dose. Close to 40% of those who got Pfizer the second time started experiencing their side effects the next day. Over half of those who got the second dose of Moderna, ended up feeling sick the same night.

When did you start feeling a bit ill after second dose of Pfizer
When did you start feeling a bit ill after second dose of Moderna

Source: Survey results from Smiles Mobile Remittance team members (Oct. 2021)

6. What side effect(s) did you experience after getting the second vaccine?

Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines showed very different results after team members got their second dose. Close to 40% of those who got Pfizer the second time started experiencing their side effects the next day. Over half of those who got the second dose of Moderna, ended up feeling sick the same night.

Vaccine side effects experienced after the second dose

Source: Survey results from Smiles Mobile Remittance team members (Oct. 2021)

7. If you had a fever after getting the vaccine, what was your highest body temperature?

Having a fever was experienced by many of the team members, so we asked for their highest recorded body temperature. Out of the 13 members who got Pfizer, only 7 of them had a fever in which almost 60% of them had a temperature between 38 and 38.9 degrees. Nearly 15% had a 39 or higher. As for members who got the Moderna vaccine, almost all of them experienced a fever. 41.2% of them had a body temperature between 38 and 38.9 degrees and the same number of members had a mild fever between 37.5 and 37.9 degrees. Moderna caused more people to experience 39 degrees or higher.

Highest recorded body temperature after getting coronavirus vaccine

pfizer body temperature results
Pfizer (7 out of 13 responded)
moderna body temperature results
Moderna (17 out of 18 responded)

Source: Survey results from Smiles Mobile Remittance team members (Oct. 2021)

We hope that you learned something, feel more confident about getting the vaccine or don’t feel alone in the process of getting the coronavirus vaccine. Yes, this is a new process that we all have to experience it together. We understand if you’re still unsure if you want to get the “jab”, but we encourage you to do some more research as our numbers only show a portion of those who received the coronavirus vaccine. 

Smiles hopes you take care and stay safe.

Related articles:

Vaccine Passport Application Guidelines for Japan

How to Fill in the Form for the COVID-19 Vaccine Ticket in Japan

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