Why Having More COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects Can Be A Good Thing

An updated COVID-19 booster shot is now available for adults. Health officials are encouraging everyone to get their booster shot this year as COVID and flu cases begin to increase (via USA Today). Some people may be wary to get another booster if they experienced unpleasant side effects after previous vaccines. While side effects aren't fun to experience, experts say they're actually a good thing.

According to WebMD, people who experienced fever, chills, and nausea after getting their COVID vaccine had a greater antibody response as opposed to those who only experienced pain at the injection site or a rash. All vaccines provide substantial protection against the virus regardless of the side effects you experience, but having more side effects generally creates even more protection.

Although experiencing side effects from a vaccine can be nerve-wracking, mild to moderate symptoms are very common. According to the CDC, your body creates an immune response to the vaccine that will protect you in the future. If the disease you are being vaccinated against ever enters your body, your immune system will be prepared to fight it. Mild side effects, including injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, and joint pain, are all extremely common.

Do I need a COVID booster shot?

If you have already been vaccinated against COVID-19, getting a booster is up to you. However, this year's booster is strongly recommended as we head into cold and flu season (via USA Today). The current bivalent booster being offered has been reformualated to target more strains of the virus, including the omicron variant. This means it offers even more protection against COVID today.

Regardless of how effective a vaccine is, its efficacy can wear off over time. This has been the case with the COVID-19 vaccines, as well as many other vaccines in our history. According to the CDC, many studies have shown that the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines wanes over time, so getting a booster is the best way to increase your protection. The prevalence of new COVID-19 variants over the past year also affects the initial vaccine's efficacy. The antibodies you create after your first doses may not be as effective at fighting these variants, and a booster shot that fights the original coronavirus and some variants can make sure you are better protected.