More than 2 million people receive COVID-19 boosters. What are their side effects?


A new study from the CDC looking at more than half a million people has come to the conclusion that COVID vaccines remain effective. (Joel CarrettAAP Image viaAP)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Third doses of Moderna and Pfizer were approved for people with compromised immune systems. As of Sept. 19, 2.2 million people have received a third dose of those vaccines.

The CDC released a report showing that, so far, third doses have been well-tolerated.

The agency compiled symptom information submitted to them through the v-safe app, a voluntary app that allows vaccine recipients to enter information regarding side effects.

Between Aug. 12 and Sept. 19, more than 22,000 people submitted their third-dose symptom information. Of those, 79 percent reported injection site reactions and 74 percent reported systemic reactions after the third dose. After the second dose, 78 percent reported injection site reactions and 77 percent reported systemic reactions. Most side effects were felt the day after vaccination.

So what were the most common side effects for each of the vaccines? Injection site pain, fatigue and headache were the most common.

Injection site pain76%67%
Injection site swelling34%17%
Muscle pain50%36%

The recommendation for an extra dose did not include Johnson and Johnson recipients, but CDC data did show some of them got a second dose anyway. Of the the more than 22,000 people who entered their information into the v-safe app, 178 of them were initial Johnson and Johnson recipients. 73-percent got the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, while just one quarter went for a second Johnson and Johnson shot.

1.5 percent of people who initially got the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine reported getting a third dose from a different mRNA vaccine manufacture.

Furthermore, the CDC said there were too few of people getting an extra dose different from their initial series to make an accurate analysis of side effects. The National Institutes of Health however, is currently conducting studies into mixing and matching vaccines for boosters. That data is expected in the coming weeks.

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