Digging deeper into the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines

NOW: Digging deeper into the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines

As the White House pushes for all American adults to be vaccinated by the end of May, more people are worried about the potential side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines as they wait for their turn to get a shot.

“Having side effects with any vaccination is normal and with the COVID-19 vaccine some people do experience mild side effects that might feel like the flu,” Berrien County Health Department spokesperson Gillian Conrad said. 

It is normal to experience some side effects, such as discomfort or pain on the arm where you received the shot, according to Conrad. Minor side effects, such as tiredness, headaches, muscle pain, chills, fever and nausea are also common throughout the rest of your body, according to the CDC.

“These are all normal signs that the vaccine is working the way that it should,” Conrad said.

Younger populations tend to report that they are feeling the side effects more than older populations, according to Conrad.

“The vaccine is prompting your immune system to build antibodies that will help you fight off the virus if you ever do encounter COVID-19,” Conrad said. 

That is why some people might be reporting that they feel more effects after the second dose. Conrad said your body has a little more to respond to having already had the first shot.

“So far research has showed that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is only a one dose vaccine, has less side effects than some of the others like Moderna and Pfizer which both have two doses,” Conrad said. 

Overall, most people feel very mild side effects that typically go away within a few days, according to Conrad.

If anyone has had a severe reaction, especially anaphylaxis, to any vaccines in the past, Conrad advised a conversation with your doctor prior to getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Conrad stressed that people should wait at least 2 weeks after getting other vaccines, such as the flu, shingles or pneumonia. 

“Remember, when you get a vaccine, if your immune system is responding the way that it should, it’s normal and very common to have those mild side effects,” Conrad said. “This means your body is doing exactly what it should do to build that protection against the virus.” 

If you have any questions you want answered about the COVID-19 vaccines, please send an email to [email protected].

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