RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Pfizers report to the FDA said most side effects were mild or moderate. Severe reactions were seen in less than 10 percent of trial participants.
The most common reaction was soreness or swelling at the injection site, which is typical in many vaccines.
“All of our efforts, all of our money, all of our attention has gone to developing a vaccine and that’s why a COVID vaccine was come out as rapidly[as it has],” said Dr. Alexa Mieses Malchuk, a UNC Chapel Hill Assistant Professor of Family Medicine.
In that relatively short time it took to manufacture a vaccine, researchers found fever, chills, fatigue, headache were the most common side effects.
“What this is telling us is the vaccine is doing its job,” said Mieses Malchuk.
This is how other vaccines do their job too she explained.
“What we’re seeing with this vaccine are super common side effects that we see with all the routine vaccinations that we give to our children and to our loved ones,” said Mieses Malchuk.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the flu shot can also cause headache, fever, nausea, muscle aches, and fatigue in some patients.
They said the polio vaccine can cause shoulder pain or a severe allergic reaction.
A measles shot, depending on the type, can result in more severe reactions. It can lead to a fever, a full-body rash, or swelling of glands in your cheeks or neck, along with pain and stiffness in the joints.
“This just means the vaccine is stimulating your immune system and helping you fight the virus in the future,” said Mieses Malchuk.
Immunity through mRNA
Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is unique in that it’s an mRNA vaccine. The ‘M’ stands for messenger. Unlike some vaccines that carry a weakened version of a virus, mRNA does not.
mRNA vaccines can be developed quicker. According to the CDC, “They teach our cells how to make a protein — or even just a piece of a protein — that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.”
“It’s like giving your body instructions on how to fight COVID,” said said Mieses Malchuk.
Moderna vaccine side effects
Less than 10 percent of reactions were listed as severe. Below are the most common side effects Moderna reports to the FDA.
- Injection site reaction in 91.6% of patients
- Fatigue in 68.5% of patients
- Headache in 63% of patients
- Muscle pain in 5 9.6% of patients
- Joint pain in 44.8% of patients
- Chills in 43.4% of patients
Read the full report of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine here.