Vaccine Safety and Possible Side-Effects

The moment that millions of Americans have been waiting for has finally arrived. The COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for use and has been made available for a large portion of adults.

As of early April 2021, almost 20% of Americans have been fully vaccinated, and the pace of those getting vaccinated is accelerating. The Biden Administration recently announced that all American adults will be eligible to receive the vaccine by April 19th, an earlier date than previously expected.

As more people line up to get the vaccine, public acceptance is trending more favorably. More people are now willing to get the vaccine than ever before. One survey showed that up to 69% of people plan to get the vaccine, a sharp increase from a few months ago.

Still, many are hesitant to receive the vaccine for various reasons. Some worry about adverse side effects. Others believe the vaccine was developed too quickly and may not be effective or safe. While concerns for health and safety are warranted, much of the hesitancy comes from a lack of knowledge or even misinformation. This article will address the main concerns about the vaccine and the potential side effects so that people can make a more informed decision regarding whether to get vaccinated.

How the vaccine works

Understanding the way vaccines work can help some of those vaccine hesitancies make the right decision. In simple terms, the vaccine works by triggering the immune system to produce antibodies that protect against the disease. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines use messenger RNA to instruct cells to produce a protein that triggers an antibody response. Contrary to what some have claimed, the vaccine does not contain the live virus, nor can it give the recipient COVID-19. 

The developers of the vaccines have been delighted to discover that the vaccines are very effective. Both the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine and Moderna’s COVID-19 Vaccine claim to be up to 95% effective against the illness. It is also believed that being vaccinated can also reduce one’s risk of spreading the illness to others.

Furthermore, vaccines are shown to be safe for most people. After meeting rigorous FDA standards and successful safety trials, experts agree: the vaccines are safe.

Common side effects

Despite being effective and safe, some people do experience mild side effects after getting the vaccine. But side effects do not mean the vaccine is unsafe or ineffective. In fact, side effects often mean the vaccine is working as intended. Other common vaccines like the flu shot can sometimes produce similar side effects in individuals.

The immune system is responsible for the symptoms people sometimes experience. This is because it responds by working hard to create protection against the virus after the vaccine is administered. A similar immune response happens when you get ill, which is why some may experience the same symptoms as common illnesses.

For most people, the potential side effects may include the following:

  • Swelling of the arm
  • Pain in the injection site
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Nausea

Pain at the injection site is the most commonly reported side effect in the list, followed by fatigue. Because of a more robust immune system response, younger people are more likely to report side effects. For vaccines that require two shots, many people report that side effects are more pronounced after the second dose. This is because the immune system goes to work right away attacking the vaccine ingredients, as it recognizes them and knows how to combat them.

While vaccine side effects can be unpleasant, they are generally short-lived. Most side effects last no longer than a day, though some have reported feeling side effects up to 72 hours or slightly longer in rarer cases.

Some over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen may mitigate some of the side effects. These are generally believed to be safe to take, but it is not recommended to take them before the shot to prevent side effects, as this could blunt some of the vaccine effectiveness. It is best to wait to see if you experience any side effects before consuming common pain relievers. Consult your doctor if you want more guidance on taking medication to combat vaccine side effects.

Key takeaways

Experts agree that getting the vaccine is the best thing for people to do in the fight against COVID-19. Some side effects are common but are often mild and short-lived. If you are worried about side effects, you should not let that deter you from taking the vaccine. It’s worth repeating that side effects are a good sign that the vaccine is working. Side effects from the vaccine are also significantly less intense or dangerous than symptoms of catching the virus itself.

If you are still on the fence about getting the vaccine, educating yourself is a good step to take. You likely know friends or neighbors who have already had the vaccine, and it may be helpful to talk to them about their experiences. Finally, you can get more information by visiting this site.

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