Both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines are two-shot vaccines. And there are reports circulating that side effects with the second shot are far more common.
Why is that?
First of all, health experts say not to call them side effects. They are a response to the COVID vaccine. And second, yes, a response is far more likely with the second dose because the first shot did what it was supposed to do.
The first shot primed your immune system to identify the foreign invader and develop a defense against it. So when you get the second, your immune system moves into action.
The most common symptoms people experience with either the first or second dose are: fever, headache and body aches. Fever is your body’s natural response when fighting off infection.
Data seems to show that people 55 and older experience fewer symptoms. Health experts say this is likely because younger people have more active immune systems.
Symptoms usually disappear within 24 hours.
The CDC cautions against taking pain relievers before your COVID vaccine appointment unless advised to do so by your doctor. There’s a potential they could lessen the effectiveness of the shot. But the CDC says it’s fine to take Tylenol or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, such as Advil or Motrin, afterwards to alleviate symptoms of fever, aches and chills.