Large Study Reveals Good News About COVID mRNA Vaccine Side Effects

Effects from the COVID-19 pandemic have been significantly improving ever since vaccines started rolling out across the globe. While evidence on the impact of vaccines continues to be collected, we know that they have helped to save lives and re-establish a sense of normalcy. Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist at the World Health Organization (WHO), told Nature, "The vaccines have had a huge impact on averting deaths and helping countries' economies return to normal. In countries with high coverage, infections have been uncoupled from deaths, so that even with new surges of infection, deaths have stayed low."

Traditionally, vaccines function by introducing a weakened form of the virus or bacteria into the body, triggering the immune system to create antibodies to fight off the infection. The COVID mRNA vaccine is different, however, in that it doesn't introduce the virus to your body, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Rather, it shows your body how to make copies of a specific protein found on COVID-19 cells. Your body is then able to make antibodies that will recognize and fight off this protein should you end up contracting COVID (via CDC).

While incredibly beneficial, there have been unpleasant side effects reported after receiving the COVID vaccine. These include soreness at the injection site and flu-like symptoms such as chills, fever, fatigue, and headaches (via CDC).

Although side effects of the vaccine are common, a new study has come out stating they are mostly mild and temporary.

Side effects of COVID mRNA vaccines

A new study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases collected data on vaccine doses administered in the United States during the first six months of the vaccine rollout. Through a text-based survey system called V-safe, participants reported side effects at various intervals following their two doses of the vaccine.

After the first dose, the most common side effect reported was pain at the injection site while fatigue, headache, chills, and muscle aches were most commonly reported after dose number two (per The Lancet).

Researchers also polled the effect the doses had on daily life, such as the ability to return to work. After the second dose, about one-third of participants reported interruption to work or daily life (via WebMD). Out of all the responses recorded, researchers found that 92% of side effects were considered non-serious and only lasted a short while (via The Lancet).

Study author Dr. Tom Shimabukuro of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention told USA Today, "These data are reassuring that reactions to both mRNA vaccines are generally mild and subside after one or two days — confirming reports from clinical trials and post-authorization monitoring."