Health & Fitness

Coronavirus survivors might experience more intense COVID-19 vaccine side effects, experts say

Coronavirus survivors who receive the COVID-19 vaccine may experience more intense side effects following the first dose, experts say. 

Two small studies, one from researchers with Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and the other from researchers at the University of Maryland, suggested that those who were previously infected with SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus, were more likely to have side effects from the first shot. Both studies also found that those who already had the virus developed higher levels of antibodies following their first shot compared to those who were not previously infected. 

Experts say this response is likely because a survivor’s immune system already recognizes the virus.

“When your immune system is seeing something that you’ve seen before, you’re all revved up for it,” Dr. Mark Cohen, the chief medical officer at Piedmont Hospital, in Atlanta, Ga., told a local news station. “So the cell response, the antibody response comes on much faster, much more [intensely. And with that is all the inflammatory activity that comes along with it.”


“Tylenol, Ibuprofen is very effective at knocking those out in a day, a day and a half. It’s very short,” Cohen added of how to mitigate any post-vaccination symptoms. 

Since the coronavirus vaccine rollout, experts have stressed the importance of receiving the second dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna coronavirus vaccine, both of which require two doses, even if you experience intense side effects following the first shot. 

While those who have received the first dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer jabs have some level of immunity against the novel coronavirus, people are not considered fully vaccinated until two weeks following their second dose. Both vaccines are considered about 95% effective in preventing symptomatic coronavirus infection following the second dose, and, at this time, immunity for both vaccines is thought to last for at least six months. 


But questions remain around what possible impact on immunity receiving just one dose could have.

“When you just leave it at one dose, the question is, how long does it last? And when you’re dealing with variants, you’re in a tenuous zone,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), recently said.

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