Amid side effect concerns, experts stress importance of COVID-19 vaccine’s second dose

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As more people line up to get the COVID-19 vaccine, some are worried about the second dose side effects that tend to be stronger than the first.

It’s been almost a month since Harry Moyer has been fully vaccinated. Moyer said the first dose was a breeze, but the second one kept him in bed.

“I felt really tired and so I slept like the second part of that second day all day,” Moyer said.

Doctors said side effects to the second dose like Moyer’s are normal, and that’s why people are nervous to get their second shot.

Two of the three vaccines that are authorized for the U.S. require two doses weeks a part.

Health experts said the second time can cause more of a side effect because it shows the vaccine is working.

“The first dose kind of introduces your body to the protein on the COVID-19 molecule surface to kind of get your body to recognize that its being an invader that it should attack,” said Thomas Hindsley, assistant professor of emergency medicine with Truman Medical Centers/ University Health.

Hindsley said side effects from the second dose is your body strengthening its immune system to attack the virus.

“We tried to schedule our vaccination for a day we would have some time off,” Hindsley said. “So, either I have some time off or its easy for me to call off sick because I might not be feeling well.”

Hindsley said its normal to have side effects, but aspirin can help.

“There’s been some evidence that maybe taking some medicine before you get the shot can make it less effective,” said Hindsley. “I would take Ibuprofen or Tylenol when I get home or if I start to feel something.”

For anyone who’s nervous to get the shot because of the second dose, Moyer said it’s important to remember that it won’t last long.

“I’d tell them not to be worried but understand that there might be a little time that they have to prepare, especially that second day after the second shot,” said Moyer.

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