As more people get vaccinated against COVID-19, some are puzzled that they are developing symptoms after the second shot that they did not notice after the first.
“It’s very variable. It’s hard for me to say who is going to get those side effects and if they’re going to be more profound after that first or second dose,” said Dr. Wilbur Chen, of the University Of Maryland School of Medicine.
“But, the chances are — after the second dose is worse than the first dose,” he said.
Chen is chief of the Adult Clinical Studies section within the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health, and he is on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Committee on Immunization Practices.
He said compared to people who are older, those younger than 65 years old, who have more robust immune systems, might respond to the vaccine with more severe symptoms.
“They feel like they’re very achy, feverish, have a sore throat or a headache, and it might be severe enough that they want to call out sick from work for a day or two,” Chen said.
If symptoms do develop, they might show up within a few hours after vaccination, and Chen said they typically won’t last longer than two days.
They can be treated with over the counter medicine, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen or naproxen.
Chen said people shouldn’t self-medicate in anticipation of something that may not happen, which aligns with guidance from the CDC.
“It is not recommended you take these medicines before vaccination for the purpose of trying to prevent side effects because it is not known how these medications may impact how well the vaccine works,” the CDC website says.
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