The 5 most common booster shot side effects, according to 11,290 people in the US who've gotten boosted

Frank Mallone, 71, receiving his Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster shot from Dr. Tiffany Taliaferro at the Safeway on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Monday, October 4, 2021. 71-year-old Frank Mallone receives a Pfizer COVID-19 booster shot at the Safeway on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, on October 4, 2021.

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

  • Booster shots are now being offered to all adults in the US.
  • Side effects of third COVID-19 shots tend to be milder than the second, according to early CDC data.
  • Fatigue, fever, and headaches are still common for a day or two after a booster. 

Booster shots are now available to every adult vaccinated against COVID-19 in the US — at least six months after vaccination with Pfizer or Moderna shots, or at least two months after Johnson & Johnson's one-shot vaccine.

If you decide to get boosted, be prepared to take it easy for about a day afterwards. Mild booster shot side effects typically begin several hours after vaccination, lasting for about a day or two after that. So it's good to be prepared to rest. 

Already, more than 36 million fully vaccinated people in the US have gotten boosted. According to the federal government's VAERS database, a passive, self-report system for post-vaccine side effects, the most common issues people have complained of after they get booster shots are headaches, fatigue, and fevers. 

Here are the top five symptoms post-boost, according to more than 11,000 people who voluntarily logged their data into VAERS:

booster dose side effects, ranked 1 to 5: headache, fever, fatigue, pain, chills People who got booster shots most commonly reported a headache, fever, and fatigue afterwards.

CDC ACIP meeting, November 19, 2021.

People who've reported booster shot symptoms in VAERS so far tend to be older (46% were 65 years or older), and skew more female (67%) too. But their symptoms mirror what other studies have shown more broadly among vaccine-takers of all ages and sexes, and complement the much larger v-safe texting database, which already has vaccine side effect information on more than 725,900 booster doses in the US. 

Generally speaking, people who've gotten mRNA vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna) say their side effects after a third dose tend to be milder than after a second. The most common complaint, no matter which vaccine people get, is pain at the injection site. (That complaint is so common, in fact, that people who log their information into the open-ended describe-your-symptoms-here VAERS system are far less likely to mention it than other adverse reactions.) 

Fewer than 10% of v-safe participants said they were unable to work after a booster. Missed school or work tended to be more common among people who switched to Moderna's boost after Pfizer's vaccine, as the former is a higher dose vaccine that tends to come with stronger side effects, which may be linked to slightly better immune protection, at least according to some early studies

"Hopefully" booster shots provide stronger, longer protection

Though it's more critical for older adults to get booster shots, health experts stress that with the holidays approaching, and COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations going up, boosters will help all adults stay healthier. The additional immune protection that boosters provide against infection may not be permanent, nor is it perfect without wider vaccination coverage, but the extra layer of immune confidence during the winter months when people are gathering indoors is one many experts say is prudent on a community-wide level. 

On the individual level, getting a boost several months after a primary vaccination series may also provide a stronger, longer lasting form of protection against coronavirus infections. 

At least, that's what Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the infectious diseases branch of the National Institutes of Health, is hoping. 

"It's referred to immunologically as affinity maturation, which means that the B-cells that will be making the antibodies have the opportunity to gain greater strength and — hopefully — greater durability," Fauci said on Monday during the White House COVID-19 briefing, explaining the benefit of the six-month interval between second and third doses of mRNA vaccines.

"I would hope, and I think there's a reasonable chance, that the durability of protection following the third dose will be longer."

Read the original article on Business Insider

[Author: [email protected] (Hilary Brueck)]

Tags: Science, News, Cdc, White House, US, Trends, Public Health, Washington Dc, National Institutes of Health, Capitol Hill, Pfizer, Anthony Fauci, Safeway, Johnson Johnson, Fauci, Moderna, Tom Williams CQ Roll Call Inc, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, Hilary Brueck, Coronavirus, Covid-19 Vaccine, Pfizer Moderna, VAERS, CDC ACIP, Booster Shot, Frank Mallone, Getty Images Booster


November 23, 2021 at 1:56 PM The 5 most common booster-shot side effects, according to 11,290 people in the US who've gotten boosters
November 19, 2021 at 3:21 PM CDC advisors endorse boosters for all vaccinated adults — and say it should be a priority for over-50s
November 19, 2021 at 3:21 PM CDC approves boosters for all vaccinated adults — and says it should be a priority for over-50s
October 27, 2021 at 12:08 PM One chart can tell you if you actually need a booster shot or not