What We Know and What to Consider
Something that has been on all of our minds for the past few days (besides finals) is probably the newly approved COVID-19 from Pfizer-BioNTech. Understandably so, this has been arguably one of the biggest medical breakthroughs in the past 100 years for the United States. It is truly amazing. So as we are now officially in the beginning of the end of this pandemic, and odds are someone is getting vaccinated as you read this; it is time to consider some of the side-effects of this new vaccine.
As it could have been expected, there are side-effects with the COVID-19 vaccine that some people have experienced. Of the nearly 40,000 people that have been enrolled in vaccine trials, approximately 20,000 of them received the vaccine, and the other 20,000 received a placebo dose. By administering a placebo to half of participants, researchers can test the true effectiveness of the vaccine by having something to compare to. The most common side-effect reported has been injection site pain. This was reported by 84% of participants who received a vaccine. The next commonly reported side effect was inject site reaction. This would be swelling, tenderness, firmness, or redness at the site of the injection for a few days after it has been received. There have also been reports of experiencing minor body aches, chills, fever, and headache after getting the vaccine. These side effects have been reported in 63% of participants. All of the side-effects were easily managed with common painkillers such as Tylenol and Ibuprofen.
Although some of these side-effects sound like such a hassle to deal with, they all went away within a few days after the vaccine was administered. It is also crucial to consider that these side-effects are nothing in comparison to some of the new diagnoses that “COVID long-haulers” have received recently such as Myocarditis and Heart Failure. This vaccine was also able to prevent COVID-19 acquisition in 95% of participants who received the vaccine. The remaining 5% who got the vaccine and still got sick only experienced extremely mild symptoms that only lasted a few days. If you are on the fence about getting the vaccine, these statistics are fantastic. It is also important to remember that if you are going to get the virus at some point in your life, ask yourself how severely sick you want to become. This vaccine is the first line of defense for your body and can make it so you only experience mild symptoms. As long as we can be courageous, trust the science, and trust the process; this pandemic will end. As always, stay safe and be well.