Side effects from 2nd dose of COVID-19 vaccine are normal, common, experts say

HOUSTON – A sore arm, fatigue, mild headaches and fever are just a few of the side effects health experts say you can expect after receiving the second dose of the COVID-19 Vaccine.

The side effects are not only common but a good sign according to Memorial Hermann’s Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Linda Yancey.

“The reason you get more of those effects after the second dose is because the first dose is the first time your immune system has ever seen these viral proteins,” Yancey said. “So, it’s going to realize that there’s something wrong. It’s going to start making antibodies, but the second dose, your immune system has been forewarned, and so it’s going to look at those viral proteins and go, ‘Whoa! Those are a problem we need do something about that.’”

The Centers for Disease Control reports that out of 619,452 second doses, administered in Texas, there were only 15 significant reports of side effects. Only four of those required a hospital stay that lasted less than 5 days.

“COVID has a one in 30 chance of killing you and a one in 10 chance of leaving you with side effects that can last for months, certainly a sore arm and achy for a couple of days is a small price to pay,” Yancey said.

She said side effects from a vaccine are nothing new but they do differ.

“Flu shot tends to have somewhat milder side effects. The tetanus vaccine is one of our best vaccines and that’s why you get those side effects,” Yancey said.

The side effects are expected to last only 24 to 48 hours. If the side effects continue, Yancey said you should make an appointment with your primary doctor.

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