What to Know About Coronavirus Vaccines and Their Side Effects

Provider prepping woman to receive a vaccine while they wear PPE and the woman wears a mask.
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With the first coronavirus vaccines being approved and now in distribution per the CDC guidelines and state phases we’re forward to better days ahead.

Coronavirus vaccines from pharmaceutical companies Moderna and Pfizer have shown strong promise in protecting against COVID-19 in clinical trials, with Moderna being 94.5% effective and Pfizer 95% effective.

What’s the Difference Between the Moderna and Pfizer Vaccines?

While both vaccines are more than 94% effective, their clinical trials have been slightly different. Pfizer’s vaccine prevented coronavirus in all but eight of the 18,198 study participants who were tracked for about two months after receiving the second dose of the vaccine.

The Moderna vaccine, on the other hand, had five of the 13,934 study participants develop coronavirus after being tracked for about seven weeks after their second dose.

Vaccines from both companies have been effective in older adults, but Moderna was 100% effective in participants aged 65 and older, while Pfizer was 93.7% effective in those ages 56 and older.

The Most Important Takeaway

AdventHealth experts agree that both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and we have been giving vaccinations to health care personnel since December

There have been reports of certain side effects being linked to the vaccine, but neither company’s vaccines have caused issues that would hold up an emergency use authorization from the FDA.

Coronavirus Vaccine Side Effects

So far, the most common side effect reported from those who have received the vaccine is an injection-site reaction. The Pfizer vaccine is administered in two doses, three weeks apart, and many of the side effects reported were after people got the second dose. The same is true for the Moderna vaccine, which is administered in two doses, four weeks apart.

Side effects of both vaccines can include:

  • Injection site pain, site swelling or redness
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Headache, muscle pain, joint pain
  • Chills, fever
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Facial Swelling
  • Swollen lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy)

Overall, the symptoms may cause discomfort for some, but that’s actually a result of the immune response brought on by a vaccine. Many vaccines, including the flu shot, give some people mild symptoms.

The Bottom Line: Mild Side Effects Are Normal and Will Pass

Moderate vaccine side effects, such as headache and fatigue, are not a cause for alarm. Whether you do get side effects after the first dose or not (both scenarios are considered normal), the second dose is still needed to provide protection against COVID-19.

From what we know so far, these coronavirus vaccine side effects are temporary, and shouldn’t discourage anyone from getting this potentially life-saving immunization.

Your Source for Trusted Coronavirus Vaccine Updates

With something as important as the coronavirus vaccine, you need to hear from a medical team who has your whole health in mind. For more coronavirus vaccine information from our medical experts, visit our Coronavirus Vaccine Resource Hub.

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