Medford, OR – According to the experts, each vaccine requires two shots. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s very important to get both for maximum effectiveness. After receiving the first shot there is a three week wait time for the second shot while the body primes the immune system.
We won’t know how effective the vaccine is if you receive the second dose more than 23 days after your first dose. This wasn’t specifically studied in clinical trials and the concern is the vaccine may not be as effective as taking it within 19–23 days after the first dose.
Also, it is crucial to stick with the same vaccine brand. That’s right, your second dose of vaccine must be manufactured by the same company that made the first dose of your vaccine. For example, if your first shot was the Pfizer vaccine, stick to that for your second shot. Then vaccination may not work properly if you get two separate types of vaccines.
When you are vaccinated the first time, you will receive a vaccine card and/or be enrolled in an electronic system so you can keep track of the date, type, and specific batch of vaccine you received. If you miss your second dose, your chances of being protected from the virus go down significantly.
Some people are concerned about the safety of the vaccines because of how quickly they were developed. Historically it takes 10–15 years to develop and test a single vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccines came out within months.
While scientists and experts accelerated the process because of the pandemic and the ability to easily enroll study subjects due to the prevalence of the condition, no developmental steps were skipped, and safety was critically evaluated.
In fact, clinical trials have important third party committees built into the process which monitor the data and any safety issues that arise and these groups are free of any political or economic bias or gain.
Also, scientists have been working on an mRNA vaccine for nearly 30 years and were able to build on the current evidence base rather than start from scratch. The safety profile of the mRNA vaccines is similar to FDA-approved vaccines, with the most common issues being temporary injection site pain, fatigue, and headache.
Temporary weakness and one-sided facial paralysis, has been reported in participants in both the Pfizer and Moderna trials. The CDC is actively monitoring this, but does not think it was caused by the vaccine as the incidence of these findings in the study population was the same as what we typically encounter in the general population. In fact, Bell’s Palsy mostly occurs after a viral illness and has been associated with COVID-19 infections, not the actual vaccine.
The side effects from both COVID-19 vaccines are normal and consistent with other regularly-used, FDA-approved vaccines.
A common side effect of the first shot is local injection site soreness of the muscle. With the second dose, about 20% of patients may develop side effects like body aches, chills, and feverishness which typically last a day or less and are treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
These are all completely normal and expected and indicate that the immune system is responding appropriately. That’s a good thing!