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Dr. Fauci just revealed the side effects from his second coronavirus vaccine dose

Published Jan 22nd, 2021 9:14AM EST
Moderna Vaccine
Image: Kevin Dietsch - Pool via CNP/MEGA

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  • During a press conference at the White House, Dr. Anthony Fauci confirmed that he has received his second coronavirus vaccine shot and he explained the side effects he experienced.
  • Fauci said side effects presented for 24 hours, but then everything was fine.
  • He added that he felt fatigued, a little achy, and chilly. But he wasn’t sick, and now he feels fine.

As of January 21st, nearly 56.6 million people around the world have received at least one dose of one of a coronavirus vaccine. That’s according to stats from OurWorldinData. Of those, 17.55 million doses were administered to American patients since vaccination campaigns began in mid-December. The vaccine tracking tool also indicates that 4.22 million people have been fully vaccinated worldwide, which means they have received the full two-dose regimen, and that figure includes 2.39 million Americans. Among them is Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, who got his second round of Moderna vaccine earlier this week. In a brief interview at the White House, Fauci revealed the side effects he experienced after his second jab.

Fauci said he had his second dose on January 18th, answering a question during a White House event.

“I did. I had it on the 19th. I was hoping that I wouldn’t get too knocked out. I did for about 24 hours. Now I’m fine,” he said. He added that he felt “fatigued. A little achy. You know. Chilly. Not sick.”

Fauci’s side effects are consistent with expectations for both the Moderna and the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, drugs that are rolling out in various countries around the world, including the US and several European nations. The side effects are supposed to be transitory and indicate that the immune system is working as intended. The immune system identifies the spike protein produced inside cells after vaccination, which is identical to the spike protein of the real coronavirus. The immune system then starts generating antibodies a couple of weeks after the first injection, with the second dose boosting protection. Upon an actual encounter with the virus, the vaccines will prevent severe COVID-19 complications and deaths.

These are the Moderna vaccine’s potential side effects, as listed on the FDA’s page for the drug:

The most commonly reported side effects, which typically lasted several days, were pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes in the same arm as the injection, nausea and vomiting, and fever. Of note, more people experienced these side effects after the second dose than after the first dose, so it is important for vaccination providers and recipients to expect that there may be some side effects after either dose, but even more so after the second dose.

Fauci received his first Moderna shot in December on live television to boost the public’s confidence in the vaccine. He has been at the forefront of the COVID-19 fight, advising the population along the way to respect health measures and to get vaccinated. Fauci reminded the public on more than one occasion that the pandemic can only end if enough people are immunized. Well over 70% should be vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity that will reduce coronavirus transmission. The doctor also supported President Biden’s initiative to vaccinate 100 million people in 100 days.

Most states have started rolling out vaccines and healthcare professionals, first responders, and the elderly are the first in line for the vaccine in most states. But many locales are facing shortages as drugmakers ramp up supply. The general public is expected to have access to vaccines in the coming months, as more supply becomes available. Other vaccine candidates should also reach the end of Phase 3 trials in the coming weeks. If the drugs turn out to be effective and safe, they’re likely to receive their own emergency use authorizations from the FDA and similar agencies in other countries.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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