What are the possible side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Coronavirus Updates

FILE – In this Jan. 18, 2021, file photo, a vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19 is prepared at a vaccination center of the 3rd district, in Paris. Japan’s COVID-19 vaccinations are beginning Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, after the government granted belated first approval to a shot co-developed by Pfizer Inc. that the United States and many other countries started using two months ago.(AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)

Utah (ABC4) – COVID-19 vaccine distribution is picking up in Utah. 

Vaccine eligibility is opening-up throughout Utah, it could even be opened to every adult in Utah on April 1, according to a statement from Governor Spencer Cox’s office.

As more vaccines are distributed many people are hearing about possible side effects the vaccine may cause. 

Some Utahns are skeptical about getting the vaccine for fear of the potential effects. According to the Utah Department of Health, “The benefits of getting vaccinated far outweigh the risks of getting COVID-19.” 

COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you from getting COVID-19. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, you may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. 

These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. 

The following are some common side effects listed by the CDC, keep in mind many people experience no side effects at all. 

Common side effects on the arm where you got the shot:

  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling

Common side effect throughout the rest of your body:

  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Nausea

According to the Utah Department of Health, symptoms are most common within the first 7 days after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Mild to moderate symptoms usually happened after the 2nd dose rather than the 1st. This is because the vaccine takes 2 shots to give you the most protection, so it makes sense that your body would be learning how to fight the disease more aggressively after the 2nd shot than the first.

The Utah Health Department lists the following for vaccine symptoms:  

  • Most of the time, the symptoms showed up around 1-2 days after the person was vaccinated and usually lasted for a day.
  • These types of symptoms were also more common in younger people, between 18-55 years old, rather than in older people (those older than 55).

Thinking of taking medications such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, or antihistamines before you get vaccinated in an effort to ease the discomfort?

The CDC says this is not recommended for most people because due to the unknown effectiveness of getting a COVID-19 vaccine when taking medications that suppress the immune system.

It is not known how these medications may affect how well the vaccine works, the CDC shares. However, if you take these medications regularly for other reasons, you should keep taking them before you get vaccinated, the CDC adds. 

For any pain and discomfort you may experience after getting vaccinated you can take these medications to relieve post-vaccination side effects, the CDC shares. 

Charla Haley, Public Information Officer for the Utah Department of Health says the Utah Department of Health encourages every Utahn who is able to get vaccinated for COVID-19 to do so when it becomes their turn. 

“Most people who get COVID-19 will recover within a few weeks, but there is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you,” Haley shares. “It can have serious, life-threatening complications. Getting vaccinated for COVID-19 is a safer way to help build protection.”

According to the CDC, in most cases, discomfort from pain or fever is a normal sign that your body is building protection. 

They recommend contacting your doctor or healthcare provider if you experience any of the following:

  • If the redness or tenderness where you got the shot gets worse after 24 hours
  • If your side effects are worrying you or do not seem to be going away after a few days

The CDC also has the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, VAERS. According to the CDC, VAERS is a database that contains information on unverified reports of adverse events (illnesses, health problems and/or symptoms) following immunization with US-licensed vaccines.

The VAERS database contains reports received from 1990 to the present, as stated by the CDC. Data can be searched by age, event category, gender, manufacturers, onset interval, recovery status, serious/non-serious category, state/territory, symptoms, vaccine, VAERS ID number, year reported, month reported, year vaccinated and month vaccinated.

Learn more about VAERS.

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