Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started, people from all around the world have been constantly on the lookout for announcements and updates on a possible vaccine against the disease. And just recently, two pharmaceutical companies—Pfizer and Moderna— announced that their vaccines are now in their final phase of trials.
Both companies are looking to produce millions of doses by the end of the year, and around a billion by 2021 to help in the fight against COVID-19. This is significant news given the ever-increasing infection rates in different countries worldwide. However, doctors are warning the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that despite this development, the public should be made aware of the side effects of the vaccines. (Read: Church Dedicates ‘Red Wednesday’ to Frontliners, COVID-19 Victims)
“We really need to make patients aware that this is not going to be a walk in the park,” Dr. Sandra Fryhofer of the American Medical Association said. She added that the warning on possible side effects will encourage those who got vaccinated to still get the second dose and not scare them away.
Vaccine Side Effects
One of the patients that are part of the trial said that she experienced migraines that forced her to take a day off after getting the second dose of the vaccine. “If this proves to work, people are going to have to toughen up. 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,” the patient, who is in her 50s, explained. (Read: 5 Pinay Beauty Queens Who Are Leading the Fight Against COVID-19)
According to other individuals from the trial, they experienced high fever, body aches, bad headaches, exhaustion (just like the aforementioned patient), and other symptoms after the vaccination. “They are going to know they had a vaccine. They are probably not going to feel wonderful. But they’ve got to come back for that second dose,” Dr. Fryhofer said about the side effects.
Both Pfizer and Moderna acknowledged that their candidate vaccines will yield side effects that mimic that of mild COVID-19 like muscle pain and chills.
Scheduling the Shots
It’s because of these possible side effects that Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said that they would be developing a guide on the scheduling of the shots for healthcare workers and hospital staff. (Read: 5 Countries That Successfully Flattened the COVID-19 Curve)
And if anyone is scared to get vaccinated due to the mentioned effects, nurse practitioner Patsy Stinchfield said that we should look at them as “responses,” rather than “adverse reactions.” Dr. Grace Lee from the Stanford University School of Medicine agrees, saying that a day off from work or school because of the vaccine is better than missing 14 days because of a COVID-19 infection.
“I think we do have to think about that the vaccine itself. While there may be some short term work loss issues, I do think that has to be balanced with the risk of getting an infection,” Dr. Lee said.