Just like all vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccine has its side effects too. They are generally mild and don’t persist for longer than 2 days; however, there are always the one-off cases where it persists for longer and has more severe side effects. You need to keep in mind that it’s a new vaccine, so there’s only so much research done on it while more is being continued. Here are the COVID-19 side effects that you should look out for!
Why Do Vaccines Have Side Effects?
This is a question that many of us have, and it’s a valid one. It may sound ironic but having side effects from vaccines is a good thing because it means that it’s working! Side effects such as fever, chills, headaches, and fatigue are common after vaccines and indicate that your immune system is responding to it. That being said, if you don’t experience them, it doesn’t mean that it’s not effective. Remember, everybody is different hence will react differently to the vaccine. Some may take longer to take effect, while some sooner. The intensity of their effect also varies from person to person.
General Side Effects
As with any vaccine, the COVID-19 vaccine has possible side effects too. It reacts differently on individuals, and the side effects can be mild to moderate depending on each person. The general side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine include pain along with redness or swelling on the arm or point where the person has gotten the vaccine. Sometimes, it could be bruised, too, so don’t be alarmed if that happens. Along with that, the symptoms include tiredness, fever, headaches, muscle pain, nausea, and chills.
Pfizer Vaccine Side Effects
The common side effects of people who have gotten the Pfizer vaccine are soreness, swelling, and redness on the area where they’ve gotten the injection. Chills and fatigue are also common. However, it should be noted that these side effects are usually experienced after the second dose of the vaccine.
Moderna Vaccine Side Effects
For Moderna, the side effects include swelling, pain, and redness on the injection spot, just as the Pfizer vaccine. Fever, chills, fatigue, and headaches are also common side effects of this vaccine. Again, people mostly feel after the second dose and nothing as such after the first.
Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Side Effects
Unlike the other vaccines, this one, which the FDA only recently approved, requires only one dose instead of two that are required by the other vaccines.
According to the FDA, the most common side effects of this vaccine include headaches, muscle aches, fatigue, nausea, and soreness on the muscle site experienced for a day or so after getting the vaccine.
Severe Side Effects
Severe side effects from COVID-19 vaccines are not very common. The side effects usually experienced are mild and general ones as opposed to severe ones. However, in the one-off severe cases, side effects can include allergic reactions. However, that being said, all the people up to date who have experienced allergic reactions have recovered. Severe allergic reactions are rare and will probably affect one in thousands. If you have allergies, it’s best to let your health care provider know before getting the vaccine.
For people with a history of severe allergies to other vaccines, the CDC recommends a thorough risk assessment and maybe even a deferral of the vaccine. If they are allergic to any ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccines, then they should avoid getting vaccinated.
How Long Do They Last?
Your next question is probably how long these side effects last. The good news is that they don’t last very long, usually to a maximum of 2 days. However, sometimes people may experience them for a few days longer. Some side effects last longer than others. For example, fever and headaches could last longer than side effects felt on the injection spot, such as redness, soreness, bruising, swelling, etc. These normally don’t last very long.
If you feel side effects other than the ones stated above, you should call your doctor or seek emergency medical care, including severe allergic reactions. This also goes for if you are experiencing them for a week after getting the vaccine because that isn’t very normal.
How To Treat Side Effects
Don’t let the side effects worry you; however, if they are, then you can treat them easily. The first step is mentally preparing yourself to experience mild side effects for a day or two after getting vaccinated, so you should keep that in mind when planning your days—just rest for a few days after the dose, especially the second one.
For pain and discomfort, take a good pain killer that’s anti-inflammatory, such as Advil, Motrin, or good old Tylenol. They will treat the pain and bring down the fever almost immediately. According to the CDC, you should not take a painkiller before the vaccine, as it will not prevent post-vaccination side effects. Wait until after the vaccine; if you are experiencing any side effects, then take medication.
If you are experiencing a mild allergic reaction, you can take an antihistamine such as Benadryl.
Older Adults Could Experience Fewer Side Effects
Although the COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be more effective in older adults, research conducted has found that 50 and above experience fewer side effects than the younger generation. It’s still not clear why this is the case, but according to researchers, it’s related to the declining immune response resulting from old age.
The COVID-19 side effects aren’t as bad as you thought, right? They’re similar to other vaccine side effects and shouldn’t persist for longer than 2 days. Remember to keep a lookout for anything unusual, and if the side effects go on for about a week, then it’s time to take action and call your doctor!