Health experts warn about possible COVID-19 vaccine side effects

Health experts warn about possible COVID-19 vaccine side effects
Public health officials and drugmakers are warning people that the COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna may have some rough side effects. Health experts aren’t trying to scare people away from getting the vaccine, but they do want to keep people informed. (Source: WBRC)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Public health officials and drug makers are warning people that the COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna may have some rough side effects.

Health experts aren’t trying to scare people away from getting the vaccine, but they do want to keep people informed.

Local doctors said the pros of getting the vaccine may outweigh the cons.

The two frontrunners in the race for a COVID-19 vaccine, Pfizer and Moderna, both warned this week that their shots are likely to make you feel a little sore and under the weather.

“When I get the shot, I’m preparing myself that I may be a little out of commission for a day or two because of the vaccine, but again we need to get a better idea on how common those side effects are when we get the study data released very soon,” said Medical Director of Infectious Diseases for the Jefferson County Department of Health Dr. Wesley Willeford.

Both Pfizer’s and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines require two doses.

Some worry the side effects might cause some people to forego getting a vaccine…or skip the second shot.

“If you’re kind of achy and sore for a couple of days and you can avoid getting COVID-19 and potentially landing in the hospital, that’s the sort of trade off you have to look at,” Dr. Willeford said.

But local doctors said like the flu shot, it’s normal to experience some unpleasant symptoms after getting a vaccine.

“It’s not at all uncommon for people to have an achy arm, to get maybe a very low-grade fever, maybe to feel a little down or fatigued for a couple of days. That sort of…what that is is that’s your immune system responding to the vaccine the way we want it to. That tells us that it’s doing what it’s supposed to do, and that’s actually a good sign that it’s working as expected,” Dr. Willeford explained.

Pfizer has submitted an emergency use application to the Food and Drug Administration to authorize its coronavirus vaccine.

The approval process is expected to take a few weeks, so some Americans could get their first dose of the vaccine next month.

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