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Tampa health experts break down possible side effects of COVID-19 vaccine

COVID vaccine AP
Posted at 6:00 PM, Apr 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-02 18:00:11-04

TAMPA, Fla. — More Floridians will be eligible to roll up their sleeves on Monday as access to the COVID-19 vaccine opens up in the state. Tampa Bay area health experts are breaking down what you need to know about any possible side effects after getting the vaccine.

“The very next day, my arm was sore, and then after that, everything’s been fine,” said Jackie Isajar, a local assistant principal.

Isajar got her second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Friday. She says she’s had teachers who’ve had a second dose with minimal side effects and others with more. For her, she explained why the benefits outweigh any risks.

“Honestly, I think it’s working in a school and being exposed to 580 kids daily and being around the school and just making sure I keep myself and my family safe,” said Isajar.

The CDC says common side effects includes fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, or nausea. In the arm where you got the shot, you could also have some pain, redness, or swelling. The CDC says side effects are normal signs your body is building protection.

USF Health’s Dr. Michael Teng explained it’s also okay if you don’t have side effects at all.

“I think there’s no real rhyme or reason to which people will get more side effects than others,” said Dr. Teng. “There is a trend though that older people get fewer side effects than younger people.”

If you're getting a two-dose COVID vaccine, side effects after the second shot may be a little more intense, but the CDC says they should go away in a few days. Teng says cases of hypersensitivity are very rare. Local vaccination sites typically have you wait 15 minutes or more to watch for any reactions.

“Your immune response to the vaccine is behaving like it’s seeing a viral infection, when it’s not really seeing a viral infection, but this is a good thing because the next time you get exposed to that same antigen or if you get exposed to SARS-CoV-2 itself, your immune system will come up really quickly and hopefully get rid of the virus before you know it,” said Dr. Teng.

To reduce any pain where you got the shot, the CDC recommends putting a cool, wet cloth over the area and to use or exercise your arm. The CDC says you can take medicines to relieve post-vaccination side effects, but says it’s not recommended to take them before getting the vaccine to try and prevent side effects.