The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its coronavirus vaccine guidelines last week, listing three additional side effects that people should know. The agency added redness, muscle pain, and nausea to the list of adverse reactions people can experience after the first and/or second jabs. Now, the agency just updated the guidelines again with an important warning about side effects that people should be aware of.
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All of the COVID-19 vaccines that received authorization for emergency use can trigger the same types of side effects. Some of them are local and related to the vaccination site — pain, redness, and swelling are on the list. They will usually go away after a few days, but people can use wet cloths over the area and exercise their arms to reduce the severity of these symptoms.
Other reactions are systemic, involving the entire body. This list includes tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea. People are advised to drink plenty of fluids and dress lightly. Taking a day off work or school to deal with the side effects might also be a good idea. Over-the-counter medicine for pain and other symptoms can also be used, with the CDC advising people to consult their doctors before taking any meds to treat side effects.
Vaccinated people should also seek medical attention if the adverse reactions do not go away within a day or two.
The CDC made an important to the page a few days ago, addressing side effects after the second shot. Aside from Johnson & Johnson, all the other vaccines authorized for use right now require two injections that are administered a few weeks apart. Studies showed that adverse reactions might be more severe after the second jab, and that’s what the CDC is warning people in the new update:
If you received a second shot
Side effects after your second shot may be more intense than the ones you experienced after your first shot. These side effects are normal signs that your body is building protection and should go away within a few days.
One crucial note is that the absence of side effects isn’t an indication that a person will not develop an immune response that will provide protection against severe COVID-19 and death.
The CDC’s updated guidelines come at a time when more healthy adults can qualify for COVID-19 immunization in the US. Vaccine clinical trials also showed that the younger population might be more likely to develop more severe side effects than the elderly.
Other studies have shown that adverse reactions might be more prevalent after the first shot for people who have had COVID-19 at some point before the first immunization. Research is still ongoing on the subject. Those studies have also concluded that COVID-19 survivors develop an immune response after one shot that is similar or better than the complete regimen in healthy people.
Whether or not any side effects are experienced, a person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the second Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna shot, or two weeks after the Johnson & Johnson jab. Also, vaccinated people will still have to respect health measures, including face masks and social distancing. A small percentage of immunized people risk symptomatic infection, while asymptomatic infections are still a theoretical risk for all vaccinated people.
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