Vaccines Bring About Side Effects

Different vaccines warrant varying reactions

Vaccines  Bring About Side Effects

Allyson Jay, Staff Writer

The COVID-19 vaccine has been available since early 2021 only for adults 65 years old or older, healthcare workers, anyone with underlying health conditions, and PK-12 educators. On March 30, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine became available for those who are 16 years and older, and the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines became available for those who are 18 years and older. Following this expansion, many students signed up and received their vaccines. 

Vaccines have side effects because they activate the immune system and help the body to build immunity and protection against the viruses. Side effects are very common and a good sign that the vaccine is working because it means the body is responding to the vaccine and fighting against it by creating antibodies, causing different reactions such as muscle aches, low-grade fevers, and fatigue.

     English teacher, Anil Chandiramani, received the Moderna vaccine and experienced numerous side effects, especially after the second dose. Chandiramani explains, “After the first one I had a slight fever for a day and basic body aches, but after the second one I got really sick for two and a half days, so I had a high fever, chills, bad body aches, tremendous arm soreness, and a debilitating headache that was probably the worst headache in my life.” As many people have noticed, the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are more likely to cause stronger side effects. After the second dose, the immune system recognizes the virus spike protein and launches a stronger response, which is why people have been experiencing more intense side effects from the second dose.

Contrary to Chandiramani’s experience, Science teacher, Julia Asmus, received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and felt “perfectly fine” and only had “body soreness that went away after taking some Tylenol.” 

Like Asmus, Nora Cornell ‘21 also signed up for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and “didn’t experience any side effects at all.” Sonia Baig ‘21 received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and didn’t experience any side effects the same day, but the day after she felt “really tired and down all day,” which caused her to “skip tennis and sleep a lot, which helped with [her] symptoms.” 

Although all three vaccines cause the same common side effects, the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines seem to have been causing more intense side effects especially after the second dose. Despite these side effects, people have been grateful to receive their vaccinations and be able to step closer to a sense of normalcy after a year of COVID-19. Asmus concludes, “I was so thankful to get my vaccine and I was even able to go to a gathering with my friends the next day which was nice because I really wanted to be able to see people.”