MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On Tuesday, the FDA released data from Pfizer’s COVID vaccine trial that showed the vaccine worked well regardless of race, age or weight.
The report also included information about potential short-term symptoms experienced by the participants.
So, what do experts know about the vaccine’s side effects? Good Question.
According to Pfizer’s data, 66% of participants experienced pain at the injection site after the second dose, 60% reported fatigue, 52% headaches, 35% chills and 2% vomiting. The symptoms ranged from mild to severe. No one had to be hospitalized.
“That’s a little higher for most vaccines and that’s not a bad thing because it means you’re getting good immunity,” said Dr. Frank Rhame, an infectious disease specialist at Allina Health.
Rhame said people might feel crummy after the shots because it’s the immune system revving up.
“It’s your body’s immune response mounting to that protein that the MRNA is coding for,” Dr. Dara Kess told CBSN. “It’s not that you have coronavirus, it’s not that you’ve gotten a little dose of the virus, it’s your body’s immune response acting.”
On average, Pfizer reported its side effects lasted for a day. The trials shows potential short-term effects, but could there be long-term ones?
“Absolutely,” said Rhame. “That’s why we need people to stay in our trials for at least two years to find out.”
He said it’s rare but has happened in the past. He pointed to the 1955 polio vaccine where 1 in 100,000 people reported paralysis following the shot. In 1976, 1 in 100,000 people reported Guillain-Barré Syndrome following the shot. Both vaccines were stopped.
“Everyone of those side effects occurred in the six weeks after vaccination,” Rhame said. “So, precedent would suggest we’re not going to see any late problem.”
Rhame points out the efficacy of the early COVID vaccines is so good that he strongly recommends people take it.
“The vaccine is a way better way of getting immunity than natural illness,” he said.
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