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After the shot: here's what side effects to expect with the COVID-19 vaccine

More than 400,000 people in our state got a vaccine dose last week. All are a step closer to normalcy but some had to deal with side effects first.
Credit: WFMY News 2

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Some are feeling side effects in the days after getting their coronavirus vaccines.

Health experts said all three coronavirus vaccines can cause side effects.

Wake Forest Baptist Health Infectious Disease Expert Dr. John Sanders said the good news is these vaccines protect us very well against the coronavirus but the bad news is that means your body is also going to react with those side effects as it builds that protection.

"What we're feeling is just our immune system reacting to thinking it's been infected with something," Sanders said.

Sanders said so far it does not seem like one vaccine is more likely to cause side effects compared to others.

"In the clinical trials, it looked like the Johnson & Johnson (vaccine) was a little bit milder but because that's a one dose vaccine I'm not sure that we can really bank on that," He said.

The state's top health expert, Dr. Mandy Cohen got the one dose vaccine and had mild side effects.

"At the time I got it I did have a sore arm, that evening I felt a little achy but I took some Tylenol, that night and then by the next morning I was really feeling fine," Cohen said.

Sanders said side effects from the one dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine are usually similar to those from the first dose of either Moderna or Pfizer because it's more mild compared to second dose reactions.

"We typically see more people get a reaction after the second dose because their immune system is already primed and what we're feeling is just our immune system thinking it's been infected with something," Sanders said.

Forsyth County Director of Public Health Joshua Swift said they did not see a higher number of vaccine side effects after this weekend's mass one dose clinic compared to previous two dose clinics.

"The day after usually people feel tired, sluggish sometimes or some people maybe, later on, get chills so that's pretty much perfectly normal," Swift said.

The most common side effects for all three vaccines are sore arm, fever, chills, headache and body aches.

Sanders said it usually starts within a day of getting your dose.

"We start to see them 24 to 48 hours. A few people might notice them a little bit sooner. Maybe as soon as 10 or 12 hours," Sander said.

He said people start to feel better about two days after the shot.

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