As healthcare workers across the country have begun getting inoculated with the Pfizer vaccine under Phase 1 of the mass distribution program, the CDC has addressed numerous concerns on the side effects of the vaccine, with ways to manage mild ones.
After the FDA gave the Pfizer vaccine a green light last Friday, and inoculations began on Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) released updated guidance to manage possible side effects.
After certain allergic reactions and instances of temporary facial paralysis and COVID-19 symptoms started concerning citizens, the CDC stated on their webpage, “You may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.”
On the other hand, Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, told Reuters, “We’re telling people that unless they’ve had a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine, or one of its components, they can receive it.”
In the updated guidance on the website, the CDC says common side effects from coronavirus vaccines include pain and swelling at the injection site, not unlike other vaccines. Vaccinated individuals may experience fever, chills, tiredness, and headache as well. This being said, although the agency has claimed that side effects are typically short-lived and resolve on their own within a few days, recipients have been advised to consult a doctor about over-the-counter meds like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to resolve pain or discomfort.
“Other steps to alleviate pain include placing a cool wet washcloth over the arm or exercising the arm, per the CDC. To tamp down discomfort from a fever, stay hydrated and dress lightly,” the agency says. “However, if redness or tenderness at the injection site worsens after a day, symptoms persist, or if side effects are sparking anxiety- contact a healthcare provider.”
Some side effects may feel like the flu, the CDC also mentions. Specifically mentioning the Pfizer vaccine, the CDC says to get both doses, even if side effects crop up after the initial jab unless a doctor advises otherwise.
Until and unless the vaccine distribution doesn’t go up to the 3rd phase in 2021, where everyone above the age of 16 gets inoculated, health officials are urging the public to continue wearing masks, practice social distancing, maintain hand hygiene and avoid crowds.