While there is a chance of experiencing side effects after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, health officials say the effects tend to be mild and dissipate quickly.
Dr. David Fisk, medical director of infection control and prevention at Cottage Health, said the majority of people do not experience any side effects after getting the vaccine. However, when people do, the most common symptoms include injection site pain, aches and a low fever within a day or two of receiving these vaccines.
To manage the discomfort associated with side effects, Dr. Fisk recommends holding an ice pack to the injection site and taking pain relievers like Tylenol for aches and fevers.
He also recommended planning a “light day” after receiving the vaccine, as this is when aches and fevers take effect most often. For people who receive the double-shot Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, Dr. Fisk said patients often experience a more intense reaction after receiving their second dose.
While these side effects may be uncomfortable, Dr. Fisk said this does not take away from the safety of the vaccine.
“These are some of the safest vaccines we’ve ever seen based on the info we have so far,” Dr. Fisk, who’s also an infectious disease specialist at Sansum Clinic, told the News-Press. “There are millions being administered, and the rates of severe reactions are very low.”
Serious side effects of the vaccine, such as shortness of breath or wheezing, are very rare reactions that occur at a rate of two to four in 1 million, Dr. Fisk said. More serious reactions are likely to occur within 15 minutes of receiving the vaccine, which is why many clinics will wait to monitor patients immediately after their shot.
Dr. Fisk emphasized that these reactions are extremely rare, and in the case that they do occur, medical staff at vaccination sites are on hand and prepared to help.