Currently, 19% of the entire United States population has been completely vaccinated. Now we have a lot more information about the three coronavirus vaccines which are available to Americans, we also have a lot more information on their side effects. Most of the usual reactions consist of Nausea, chills, muscle pain, fever, and fatigue. These reactions are so common right now that some people who do not feel anything are very worried.
Experts however claim that feeling side effects and not feeling them are both nothing to worry about. Abisola Olulade, MD, who is a physician in San Diego told Refinery29, “The reason why people have different levels of side effects or different severity is complex and not fully understood. Essentially, when you get a vaccine, your body recognizes it as foreign, and then it triggers inflammation. And that’s essentially what gives those side effects. So some people may not have that trigger as strongly as others.” We now understand that side effects of the vaccine are connected to the immune response and hence older people and people with weaker immune systems may experience them a little less.
Your body’s reaction to the vaccine depends on many things such as preexisting conditions, your age, and your genetics. Studies have claimed that people who have higher levels of estrogen will suffer from stronger side effects. February also saw a data release that said that people who have suffered from COVID-19 will also take a while to get rid of the post-vaccine symptoms. According to Dr. Olulade, factors like diet, environment, and stress may also play a role in the body’s reaction to the vaccine.
Some people have also suffered from different reactions based on the type of vaccine they were administered. A study was recently published in JAMA, which said that 75% of people experienced some kind of reaction after they had received the second shot of their Moderna vaccine however only 64% of people experienced any effects after their second shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Johnson & Johnson which only has one dose of vaccine has reported the fewest number of side effects but it also has a lower efficacy rate. The Moderna shot has an efficacy rate of 94.1% and the Pfizer dose has an efficacy rate of 95% but the J&J has an efficacy rate of 72% overall and 86% against major diseases. Johnson and Johnson however is still a vital and efficient vaccine against COVID-19.
This shows that side effects do not prove the efficacy of the vaccine. When the Pfizer trial was conducted, only half the test subjects reported any reaction to the vaccine. Dr. Olulade says, “They all, regardless of whether or not they had side effects, had really good protection against coronavirus. So that tells you that just because someone doesn’t have side effects, it doesn’t mean the vaccine is not effective. Vaccine side effects are a great thing. It tells us that your immune system is working and it’s responding the way we want it to, which is very important.”