- The official list of coronavirus vaccine side effects according to the CDC includes fever, fatigue, chills, and a headache.
- Some people might experience none or just one side effect while others might experience all four.
- Side effects don’t manifest with every person and when they do appear, they typically go away within a day or two.
When Pfizer and Moderna shared the results from their respective COVID-19 vaccine trials, the results were so astounding that even company executives were taken aback. In studies that encompassed nearly 80,000 volunteers, both vaccines were found to be 95% effective at preventing a coronavirus infection.
The efficacy rate was so high that Dr. Anthony Fauci, upon hearing the news directly from Pfizer’s CEO, said he started to cry out of sheer happiness.
“I remember it was a Sunday night and I was sitting out on the back deck and I got a phone call from a friend who was the CEO of Pfizer,” Fauci said during a recent interview. “The CEO said something like, ‘Are you sitting down?’ And I said, ‘Oh my goodness. This is either really good news or it’s really bad news,’ because I knew they were looking at their results. I said ‘Yeah, I’m sitting down.’ He said, ‘You’re not going to believe this, but it’s like 95% efficacious.’ And it was — you know, I started to cry. I really did.”
Equally as encouraging is that the vaccines from both Pfizer and Moderna didn’t cause any serious side effects in volunteers. And in instances where side effects did manifest, they were similar in nature to what one might experience with the flu. One participant in Pfizer’s clinical trial likened the side effects he experienced to a “severe hangover.”
With the U.S. COVID-19 vaccination rollout slowly but steadily increasing, it’s a good time to re-visit the most common coronavirus vaccine side effects people are likely to experience.
While the more painful side effects tend to happen after the second shot, the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine — like any shot — can cause soreness around the shot area and swelling.
The most-common coronavirus vaccine side effects after the second dose, according to the CDC, include fever, headache, chills, and tiredness. The severity of these symptoms will vary from person to person, but some folks hit hardest by the side effects said that they typically went away within a day or two.
The CDC notes that older individuals are more likely to experience these side effects than younger folks. Incidentally, Dr. Fauci — who received his second dose a little bit more than a week ago — said that he was effectively out of commission for about a day.
“I was hoping that I wouldn’t get too knocked out,” Fauci said. “I did for about 24 hours. Now I’m fine.”
The CDC lists some helpful tips for folks who happen to experience any of the side effects above:
To reduce pain and discomfort where you got the shot:
- Apply a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the area.
- Use or exercise your arm.
To reduce discomfort from fever:
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Dress lightly.
The CDC adds that while a fever and or pain is to be expected, you should contact a doctor if “the redness or tenderness where you got the shot increases after 24 hours.” A doctor should also be contacted if the side effects listed above don’t go away after a few days.