COVID-19 vaccine brings protection and, for some, uncomfortable side effects

Liz Hosp of Atlanta went to a drive-thru vaccine clinic back in January, getting her first dose of the Moderna vaccine with her husband Mike and with her mom, Anne Sayre, who had just moved into their Edgewood home in December.

The first shot, Hosp says, went very easily.

"My arm was a little tender, and that was about it," she says.

A month later, they got their second shots. 

This time, the side effects were more intense.

The night after her vaccination, Hosp realized something was off.

"I started getting that feeling, that taste you get in your mouth, before you get sick, and, was like, 'Oh,'" she says.

She felt like she had a mild flu.

"I didn't take my temperature, but I had chills," Hosp says.  "I'm pretty sure I had a fever overnight and woke up the next morning just with zero energy."

It took about 36 hours for the symptoms to go away, she says.

Her husband has the same flu-like feeling, except he also had a bad headache.

"My mom, who is 86, flew through it fine," Hosp says. "She was like, 'What's wrong with you people?'"

As of Thursday, the CDC says 43% of American adults have had their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 29% are now fully vaccinated.

The agency says the COVID-19 vaccines can cause common side effects, including arm pain and soreness, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, fever, chills and nausea.

The side effects, which may last for a few days, can be more intense after the second shot.

Microbiologist Dr. Amber Schmidtke, Ph.D., who writes a online newsletter about the pandemic in Georgia, says she, too, had few side effects with her first shot, but she felt pretty rough after her second.

Still, Schmidtke says, the side effects were not severe.

"Compared to getting COVID, this is really pretty minor," she says. "I would compare it to something similar to a hangover."

Schmidtke says there was a concern people worried about side effects may not come back for their second dose.

"But so far, we've had really good success," Schmidtke says.  "I mean the numbers bear out that we're having a lot of good follow-up from people to get that second dose."

Liz Hosp says she would get the vaccine again.

"To me, it was, sure, I was sick for 24, 36 hours, but, I'm recovered," Hosp says.  "I don't have any long-term effects from it, and my risk of COVID is now very, very small. To me, there is just no question the benefit is worth it."

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