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It’s normal to experience side effects after the COVID-19 vaccine, says NHS Western Isles, but it may be that they don’t all have to be painful or negative.

Owing to his great age, welovestornoway.com editor Fred Silver had his second Pfizer BioNTech jag last Friday (April 2)– and spent the afternoon surrounded with the scent of orange trees.  Covid-19 is known to upset the sense of smell…and so apparently can the vaccine but in a nice way.

Having had a serious viral infection with long-term post-viral side effects – affecting muscles, blood vessels, tendons and other organs – which started in late November 2019, Fred also says he felt hugely better after the second jag and is hopeful that it’s provided a physical reset for his own fight against a virus.

Overall, the reactions show the vaccine is teaching your body’s immune system how to protect itself from disease.

For more serious information (but no orange trees) go to  ➡ www.nhsinform.scot/covid19vaccinesideeffects

NHS WI also warn that as the restrictions ease, we all need to remember FACTS – face coverings, avoid crowds, clean hands, two metre distance, self-isolate. These actions reduce the chance of spreading the virus without knowing it and stop new strains taking hold. Even if you’ve had the vaccine, keep following FACTS.

And they say, if you have a concern or enquiry about COVID-19 or its vaccine, please contact either (ensuring you use the correct helpline details):

For COVID vaccine related enquiries - visit:  www.nhsinform.scot/covid19vaccine or contact the National COVID Vaccination Helpline on 0800 030 8013 (available 8am – 8pm 7 days a week).

For COVID general enquiries - contact the local COVID-19 Health Concern Helpline on 01851 601151 or email them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   Alternatively you can visit the local Coronavirus website at: https://www.coronavirus.wi.nhs.scot/

The latest update from NHSWI Chief Executive Gordon Jamieson last night said there were no new cases of COVID-19 yesterday.

He said: “Vaccinations continue and we are reminding anyone aged 40 or over who has not yet responded to the invitation for a 1st dose to make an appointment 0808 196 8383.”