Understanding COVID-19 vaccine side effects

Coronavirus

NEW YORK — Getting the COVID-19 vaccine has become a part of our new normal. But dealing with the side effects can be tough. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, common side effects include pain and swelling at injection sight, fever, fatigue, headache, and mild cold or flu-like symptoms. 

We spoke to Dr. Michael Urban, a doctor of occupational therapy and professor at the University of New Haven to learn more about these symptoms, how to overcome them, and what you should be aware of.

PIX11 News: Why do people experience side effects from COVID-19 vaccines?

Dr. Urban: “For some people, it depends on the compound used to make that vaccine there are different types. People may have a sensitivity or or an actual reaction to that compound within the vaccine.”

PIX11 News: How do you know the difference between a side effect and an allergic reaction?

Dr. Urban: “You’ll know if you’re having an adverse reaction like if you’re allergic to shellfish it’s going to happen within minutes.”

PIX11 News: Do different vaccines have different side effects?

Dr. Urban: “For Johnson and Johnson, you’re one and done. If you want to think, so you go through this once. Pfizer and Moderna, you may experience very mildly on the first shot. When you come around to the second shot that’s where you’re seeing a little bit more intensity for some people. 

It comes down to your body mounting more of that response within your body. So you have some antibodies there. It will stimulate a second and large immune response within your body to help heal those antibodies within your body.”  

PIX11 News: What about rare side effects?

“There are always outliers. Everyone has something a little bit different and again when people going for that second vaccine that’s where you are seeing that bigger variation. That may be less than 1%. It’s very quick and temporary and it goes away. After a couple of days, are you back to functioning again.  

Typically, what I’d recommend is depending on the severity and how much is impacting your functioning like the ringing of your ears if it’s not getting worse it seems to plateau typically you may call your doctor right away.”

In rare cases, death has also been reported. The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) 2,216 reports of death (0.0018%) among the 126 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the country between Dec. 14, 2020 and March 22, 2021.

However, the CDC says a review of available clinical information including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records revealed no evidence that vaccination contributed to patient deaths. 

In the meantime, Dr. Urban says the best way to overcome those annoying side effects is get plenty of rest, stay hydrated and plan ahead. While you may be sidelined from your normal routine for a short time, getting the vaccine will have a lasting impact. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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