The CDC Director Just Said You Should Expect These Vaccine Side Effects

These reactions are a normal part of the vaccine process.

With plans to ramp up vaccine distribution, the average American may find themselves eligible to get a shot in the not-too-distant future. Since the vaccine has received some skepticism, experts on the matter are trying to be as transparent as possible about the process. During a Jan. 27 White House coronavirus response team briefing, Rochelle Walensky, MD, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), shared the side effects you should expect when getting the COVID vaccine. Keep reading to learn which vaccine reactions you might experience, and for more vaccine news, Dr. Fauci Says He Had These Side Effects From His Second Vaccine Dose.

The common COVID vaccine side effects include pain, fever, and tiredness.

Cropped shot of a young man experiencing discomfort in his upper arm

During the press briefing, Walensky noted that it's important for people to remember that there may be some mild side effects from the vaccine. She said side effects can include "pain where you got your shot, feeling feverish or tired, and muscle aches after getting your shot." These vaccine side effects are consistent with what the CDC has outlined on its website. Walensky added that reactions are especially common after getting the second dose.

You're more likely to experience side effects after your second dose because that shot provokes a stronger immune response. "When you get that second injection, your body is already kind of primed, and it starts reacting against the vaccine," David Sellers, MD, the first healthcare worker at Ascension Saint Thomas Hospital in Tennessee to receive a vaccine, explained to a local NBC affiliate. "If you're going to get the systemic side effects, it generally occurs after the second shot when you get not only muscle aches, but you can get joint aches." And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Experiencing mild side effects is normal.

Tired woman on couch

Although facing less-than-desirable side effects may make you assume something is wrong, that's almost always not the case. Mild side effects from a vaccine are a natural part of gaining immunity. "These are all normal and an expected part of getting a vaccine," Walensky said. "These symptoms mean your immune system is revving up, and the vaccine is actually working." And for more firsthand experience with vaccine reactions, Tyler Perry Said He Had These Side Effects From the COVID Vaccine.

Walensky cautioned people not to avoid the vaccine out of fear.

Thoughtful anxious business woman looking away thinking solving problem at work, worried serious young chinese woman concerned make difficult decision lost in thought reflecting sit with laptop

Walensky tried to quell people's vaccine fears with reassurance that the vaccine is safe and effective. While some people have attributed their hesitancy to allergic reactions, the CDC director said that according to recent data, there were only 2.1 cases of anaphylaxis per million doses of Moderna and 6.2 cases of anaphylaxis per million doses of Pfizer. "Let me be clear, these are rare, treatable outcomes, and the COVID-19 vaccines are safe," she explained. "While anaphylaxis can be scary, there are effective treatments, and patients generally do quite well."

Other experts have spoken about allergic reactions from the vaccine. During a Jan. 7 interview with members of the internal medicine residency program at Washington University in St. Louis, White House COVID adviser Anthony Fauci, MD, acknowledged the possibility of adverse reactions but reminded people that severe allergic reactions are very rare. "There have been 21 cases of severe allergic reactions, which brings it to an incidence of about one every million [and] almost invariably in people with a history of severe allergic reactions," Fauci said. And for potential reactions to another vaccine, These Are the Side Effects of the New Johnson & Johnson Vaccine.

The risk of COVID is much higher than the risk of an allergic reaction to the vaccine.

COVID vaccine

While there is a tiny chance you could have a severe adverse reaction to the vaccine, Walensky pointed out there's a much greater risk of getting COVID. "It's also important to put this into context. The risks with getting sick with COVID-19 are much higher than the risk of allergy or anaphylaxis from the vaccine," she noted.

Walensky went on to hammer home the proven safety of the vaccine. "I want to take a moment here to emphasize that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe, and they work," she continued. "And this is backed up with data." And for more vaccine news, Moderna's Chief Medical Officer Just Gave This Upsetting Update.

Best Life is constantly monitoring the latest news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed. Here are the answers to your most burning questions, the ways you can stay safe and healthy, the facts you need to know, the risks you should avoid, the myths you need to ignore,and the symptoms to be aware of. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.
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