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What Side Effects Can You Expect From The COVID-19 Vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccine can cause mild to moderate side effects, like fever and fatigue. [Numstocker / Shutterstock]
The COVID-19 vaccine can cause mild to moderate side effects, like fever and fatigue. [Numstocker / Shutterstock]

What are your questions about the coronavirus vaccine?

ideastream's health team is answering as many questions as possible, with help from local experts in a range of fields. You can  send us your questions with our online form, through our social media  group, or call us at 216-916-6476. We'll  keep the answers coming on our website and on the air.

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve the Pfizer vaccine for use in the U.S. on Thursday.

Susanne from Bratenahl asked about the side effects of the vaccine.

Side effects for the Pfizer vaccine were generally mild for patients who participated in clinical trials.  But they might get worse after the second dose, said Dr. Robert Wyllie, Cleveland Clinic's chief of medical operations. 

Dr. Wyllie also leads the COVID response for the state of Ohio in the Northern region.

“Some patients are reporting fevers, and some reporting not feeling well, and there are some people, at least in what reports we have, that need a day or two off from work,” Wyllie said.

But in the United Kingdom, where people are already starting to take Pfizer vaccine, two National Health Services employees with a history of severe allergies had bad reactions to the vaccine on Tuesday.  UK health officials are warning, as a precaution, that people with a history of severe allergies not get the new coronavirus vaccine.

Officials say both health workers are recovering well.

The fatigue and fevers that some experience after getting a vaccine means your body is having an appropriate immune response, said Dr. Thad Stappenbeck, chair of the Department of Inflammation and Immunity at the Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute.

“Just plan on potentially taking the next day off. Just in case you fall into that group where you’re not feeling well,” Dr. Stappenbeck said.

“But the good news is, is it will subside quickly, and you’ll develop immunity, which is really the goal," he said.

Cleveland Clinic is planning to stagger vaccinations for this reason, Stappenbeck said, so a whole floor of nurses won’t get the vaccine on the same day, in case they don’t feel well.


lisa.ryan@ideastream.org | 216-916-6158