COVID-19 vaccine side effects can include aches, fever, and vomiting, experts say

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Momentum is building for COVID-19 vaccinations across Alabama with thousands inoculated this week in Huntsville.

As of Friday, more than 581,000 people have been vaccinated in the state.

About 90 percent of all vaccines administered in Alabama have been given in the last three weeks.

With more and more people getting inoculated, both Moderna and Pfizer have reported there are noticeable differences in reactions to the doses.

Health experts say side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are similar to the common flu shot, but generally more pronounced and severe.

The second shot is reported to be more severe than the first.

More than half of all people who take the COVID-19 vaccine have little to no symptoms, said Dr. Ali Hassoun, Huntsville Hospital Infectious Disease Specialist.

He says 2.5 people out of one million experience shortness of breath and swelling, similar to symptoms that can manifest with a lot of common medications.

Severe allergic reactions, which medical staff watch for after people get their shot, occurs in less than one percent of people who take the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The hives and the severe allergic reaction is much less than that,” Hassoun said. “It’s like 0.001 percent.”

About 3 percent of people who take the COVID-19 vaccine experience vomiting, he said.
Less than 10 percent will develop fever-like symptoms and about three percent could experience vomiting.

“People have friends, family, who get the shot, and they know what they experience. There’s more acceptance to do the shot because the safety is really pretty good and the side effect is considered low,” Hassoun said.

Overall side effects are considered “minor” and more and more people are getting comfortable with taking the vaccine as they become aware of what to expect.

“A study shows 520,000 people who got the two shots with Pfizer, none died. Compared to people who didn’t get vaccinated, there were numbers who died. So, efficacy has shown it’s effective, safety is there and it’s important to do it for the community.”

Hassoun says people should not take over the counter drugs like aspirin and Tylenol before getting the vaccine – but those medications can be taken afterwards.

According to Hassoun, all symptoms should disappear within 24 to 72 hours.

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