Medical experts say to expect some mild side effects with the COVID-19 vaccine

Ellen Galles
Updated: January 18, 2021 06:35 PM
Created: January 18, 2021 05:12 PM

Side effects are possible after getting the COVID-19 vaccine, especially after the second dose. KSTP Medical Expert Archelle Georgiou says not only are some of these responses normal, they are a sign that the vaccine is working.

According to Pfizer's briefing document presented to the FDA last month, about 84% of the patients in their clinical trials experienced pain or swelling where the shot went in. About 62% experienced fatigue, 55% got headaches and about 38% experienced muscle pains.  Smaller percentages of patients experienced chills, joint pain or fever.

"These responses to the vaccine are normal," Georgiou said.

She says knowing the side effects in advance can eliminate some of the worry or panic if they occur. And while unpleasant, they can be a sign your body is responding.

"It means your body received the vaccine, it's recognized it and it's responding. Your arm may hurt or you may feel fatigued, which is good because it means your body is generating antibodies to this new agent," she said.

Georgiou says the symptoms tend to be more extreme after the second dose.  If they last beyond a day or two, or if they get worse, you should consult your doctor.


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