ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – As of April 22, 40 percent of New Mexicans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19; That’s more than 678,000 people. While some people experience no symptoms after the second shot, others are down for the count for at least 24 hours.
“The most common was injection site pain,” said Dr. David Gonzales with Christus St. Vincent. Body aches and nausea is what some people feel after getting their COVID vaccine, especially the second dose.
“People like to call it getting sick but you’re not getting sick, you’re having a symptom,” said Dr. Denise A. Gonzales with Presbyterian Hospital. Not everyone experiences side effects. So KRQE News 13 asked doctors at Christus St. Vincent and Presbyterian hospitals why people react differently to the vaccine.
“It really depends on your genetic makeup and your life experiences,” said Dr. Denise Gonzales. “If you’ve been exposed to other things that look a lot like the portions of COVID we’re injecting in the vaccine, then you’ll recognize it right away and you’ll have a much more brisker response. If you have a different immune system genetically and you don’t respond as briskly, then you may not have symptoms. That doesn’t mean it’s not going to work, it just means your body won’t have as brisk of a response.”
They say symptoms are one way to show your immune system is reacting to the vaccine. “We tend to see more response or reactions to the second dose for the simple reason that once you receive your first dose, you’ve now primed your body to respond to the vaccine,” said Dr. David Gonzales. “So when you receive the second dose it reacts to it a little more strongly and people tend to experience side effects more commonly.”
Looking at national data from the CDC, the first 13-million doses given to people during the first month the vaccine was rolled out: women were more likely to report having symptoms as well as younger people. But if your body doesn’t react to these symptoms, doctors said don’t worry the vaccine should still be doing its job. “There’s no way of knowing your body is mounting a good immune response just based on the lack of symptoms,” said Dr. Denise Gonzales.
Doctors say people who are able to get vaccinated, should. “That is the best way to keep us safe and protect us in the future,” said Dr. David Gonzales.
Doctors said a specific vaccine isn’t causing these symptoms. People who got Moderna and Pfizer are both experiencing those symptoms, that’s because they both work in a similar way. Symptoms typically start a day after the second shot and last about 24 hours. Doctors recommend people rest, hydrate, and take Tylenol or ibuprofen.