The coronavirus vaccine comes with more side effects than a flu shot. Experts urge people to get it anyway

The first coronavirus vaccine authorized in the United States may cause more side effects than the flu vaccine, but the most common reactions — soreness at the injection site, fatigue and headache — are mild or moderate in most people and fade after a few days, according to analyses of clinical trial data.

Infectious disease experts say most people can safely get the vaccine, but they should be prepared for some of these potential side effects.

“Any robust vaccine may generate some discomfort but it is worth the mild side effects — these side effects are not extraordinary — to be immune against this circulating new pandemic,” said Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease physician at UCSF.

The FDA granted emergency use authorization late Friday to the first vaccine in the U.S., developed by Pfizer and German firm BioNTech, which has been shown to be 95% effective at preventing COVID-19 illness.

Health care workers and residents of long-term care centers will be first in line to receive the vaccine in California, followed by essential workers. Mass vaccinations of the general public are expected in spring or summer 2021.

The Pfizer vaccine’s most common side effects were fatigue, headache, muscle pain and chills, according to an FDA analysis of Pfizer’s clinical trial data. Less common were joint pain, fever, diarrhea and vomiting. The vast majority of those symptoms were mild or moderate.

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4 volunteers develop FACIAL PARALYSIS after taking Pfizer Covid-19 jab, prompting FDA to recommend ‘surveillance for cases’

Four trial participants who received the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine experienced facial paralysis, according to the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA said the issue should be monitored as the jab becomes more widely available.

The potentially concerning cases were revealed after the US drug regulator published an analysis of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine ahead of a meeting to consider emergency use authorization for the jab in the United States. 

According to the documents, Bell’s palsy, a form of temporary facial paralysis, was reported by four participants during phase 3 trials. The individuals had been administered the jab, and no members of the placebo group experienced similar adverse effects. 

The condition resembles a stroke, with most sufferers watching helplessly as one side of their face droops and their muscles go limp. In some rare situations, both sides of the face may become paralyzed. It is unclear what causes Bell’s palsy, although the temporary paralysis usually goes away on its own. 

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Doctors say CDC should warn people the side effects from Covid vaccine shots won’t be ‘a walk in the park’

  • The CDC must be transparent about the side effects people may experience after getting their first shot of a coronavirus vaccine, doctors urged during a meeting Monday with CDC advisors.
  • Dr. Sandra Fryhofer said that both Pfizer’s and Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccines require two doses and she worries whether her patients will come back for a second dose because of potentially unpleasant side effects after the first shot.
  • Both companies acknowledged that their vaccines could induce side effects that are similar to symptoms associated with mild Covid-19, such as muscle pain, chills and headache.

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COVID-19 vaccine trial participants report aches, fevers and chills

Some participants for leading COVID-19 vaccine trials have reported experiencing grueling side effects after receiving the shot — such as high fever, body aches, headaches and exhaustion.

Five participants — three in Moderna’s study and two in Pfizer’s late-stage trials — said the uncomfortable side effects usually went away within a day, but some were surprised by how severe they were, CNBC reported.

“If this proves to work, people are going to have to toughen up,” one of the Moderna participants, a North Carolina woman in her 50s who declined to be identified, told the outlet.

“The first dose is no big deal. And then the second dose will definitely put you down for the day for sure. … You will need to take a day off after the second dose.”

She said she didn’t experience a fever but had a bad migraine that left her exhausted and struggling to focus, the outlet reported. But the next day, she woke up feeling better after taking Excedrin.

While she was uncomfortable, the side effects outweigh the risks of becoming infected with the virus, she said.

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