Health leaders advise public of possible increased side effects with second COVID-19 vaccine dose

Health leaders advise public of possible increased side effects with second COVID-19 vaccine dose

HENRICO Co., Va. (WWBT) - While thousands of Virginians continue to receive their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, health leaders say there are some boosted side effects that may come with it.

On Monday, the Henrico County Health District posted several graphs showing the difference in side effects between doses.

“This is your body learning how to fight the infection,” said Dr. Melissa Viray, Deputy Director of the Health District.

What to expect: MODERNA COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects, Age 18-64 If you live or work in Richmond City or Henrico County...

Posted by Henrico County Health Department on Monday, February 1, 2021

For the second dose of the Moderna vaccine, you will notice slightly boosted symptoms under the “systemic reaction” section.

“The majority shouldn’t be surprised if you have some fatigue or headache,” Viray said. “I’ve been hearing that a lot from folks on their second dose, and even some on their first dose. Muscle aches, little body aches, definitely been hearing that some.”

However, Viray said some people may not experience any side effects. Regardless, health leaders are taking the opportunity to inform vaccine goers of what to expect.

“I think if you didn’t know what to expect and then you got the first dose, felt fine, and got the second dose and felt sick, you might be really worried,” Viray added.

Essentially these side effects are from your body fighting back.

“This vaccine teaches your body to respond to the spike protein on the virus without actually using the virus itself,” Viray said. “This response is the immune response.”

Meanwhile, similar side effects have been shown with the Pfizer vaccine as well.

While taking over the counter meds is okay after receiving the vaccine dose, Viray and other health leaders do not suggest pre-medicating.

“Let your immune system do its thing,” she said. “We want your immune system to mount the response it needs to mount in order to fight off the infection in the event it’s exposed to the infection later.”

Despite some apprehension about these side effects, Viray added it is incredibly important to get that second dose.

“We don’t have a 95% efficacy after one dose; it’s half or 2/3 of that if that,” she said. “So, we really need people to get that second dose.”

Additionally, when it comes to scheduling your second dose, Viray suggested trying to stay within the guided timeframe – 21 days for Pfizer, 28 days for Moderna.

While the likelihood of increased side effects is possible with the second dose, Richmond City and Henrico County leaders are aware of this factor when it comes to scheduling.

“They’re thinking about this, and they’re thinking about this in terms of how do we make sure when we have a second swath of teachers, second swath of firefighters and police officers, that it’s not going to have an adverse impact on our staffing,” Viray said.

Additionally, Viray added the FDA was aware of these increased side effects with second doses when the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were approved for emergency use authorization.

Side effects with the first and second dose may last roughly one to two days after receiving the vaccine. However, if it lasts longer, you are urged to contact your care provider.

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