Understanding Adverse Events And Side Effects
CDC provides information about common and rare adverse events that may occur after vaccination.
Any health problem that happens after vaccination is considered an adverse event following immunization. An adverse event can be a true adverse reaction, also known as a side effect, that is related to the vaccine, or a coincidental event that happened following vaccination.
CDCs Immunization Safety Office, along with FDA and other federal government partners, conducts research on adverse events that occur after vaccination.
Older Adults Including Long
There are no contraindications to the administration of epinephrine for the treatment of anaphylaxis. Although adverse cardiac events, such as myocardial infarction or acute coronary syndrome, have been reported in some patients who received epinephrine for treatment of anaphylaxis , epinephrine is the first-line treatment for anaphylaxis. It is important that locations providing vaccination to older adults, including long-term care facility residents, have staff members available who are able to recognize the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis. This will help not only to ensure appropriate and prompt treatment for patients with anaphylaxis, but also to avoid unnecessary epinephrine administration to patients who do not have anaphylaxis.
The Following Emergency Equipment Should Be Immediately Available For The Assessment And Management Of Anaphylaxis
|Should be available at all locations||If feasible, include at locations|
|Epinephrine *||Pulse oximeter|
|Timing device to assess pulse||H2 antihistamine|
|Pocket mask with one-way valve sized for adults and children|
*COVID-19 vaccination locations should have at least 3 doses of age-appropriate epinephrine available at all times, and the ability to quickly obtain additional doses to replace supplies after epinephrine is administered to a patient. Locations that are administering COVID-19 vaccines to children < 12 years should have age-appropriate supplies, including age-appropriate epinephrine dosing. People with a history of anaphylaxis who carry an epinephrine autoinjector could be reminded to bring it to their vaccination appointment. Detailed information on storage, handling, administration, and dosage considerations is available in the package inserts for epinephrinepdf iconexternal icon . Expired epinephrine or epinephrine that appears to be in unacceptable condition should be replaced.
Antihistamines may be given as adjunctive treatment but should not be used as initial or sole treatment for anaphylaxis. Additionally, caution should be used if oral medications are administered to people with impending airway obstruction.
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What If I Have Breast Cancer Or A History Of Breast Cancer
Some people who get a COVID-19 vaccine might have swollen lymph nodes under the arm in which the injection was given . Because a swollen lymph node under the arm can also be a sign of breast cancer spread, most doctors recommend that people with breast cancer or a history of breast cancer get the injection in the arm on the opposite side of your breast cancer. For example, if your breast cancer/breast surgery was in the left breast, it is probably best to get the injection in the right arm. If you have had surgery on both breasts, its best to talk with your doctor about the best place on your body to get the injection.
Swollen lymph nodes after a vaccine injection might also have an effect on your mammogram results.
Allergic Reactions Including Anaphylaxis After Receipt Of The First Dose Of Pfizer
Weekly / January 15, 2021 / 70 46â51
MMWR Early Release.
CDC COVID-19 Response Team Food and Drug Administration
What is already known about this topic?
Anaphylaxis is a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction that occurs rarely after vaccination.
What is added by this report?
During December 1423, 2020, monitoring by the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System detected 21 cases of anaphylaxis after administration of a reported 1,893,360 first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine 71% of these occurred within 15 minutes of vaccination.
What are the implications for public health practice?
Locations administering COVID-19 vaccines should adhere to CDC guidance for use of COVID-19 vaccines, including screening recipients for contraindications and precautions, having the necessary supplies available to manage anaphylaxis, implementing the recommended postvaccination observation periods, and immediately treating suspected cases of anaphylaxis with intramuscular injection of epinephrine.
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Early Recognition Of Anaphylaxis
Because anaphylaxis requires immediate treatment, diagnosis is primarily made based on recognition of clinical signs and symptoms. Signs and symptoms in adults and children include:
- Respiratory: sensation of throat closing or tightness, stridor , hoarseness, respiratory distress , coughing, trouble swallowing/drooling, nasal congestion, rhinorrhea, sneezing
- Gastrointestinal: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, or cramps
- Cardiovascular: dizziness fainting tachycardia hypotension pulse difficult to find or weak cyanosis pallor flushing
- Skin/mucosal: generalized hives widespread redness itching conjunctivitis or swelling of eyes, lips, tongue, mouth, face, or extremities
- Neurologic: agitation convulsions acute change in mental status sense of impending doom
- Other: sudden increase in secretions urinary incontinence
Anaphylaxis should be considered when signs or symptoms are generalized or are serious or life-threatening in nature, even if they involve a single body system .
If anaphylaxis is suspected, administer epinephrine as soon as possible, contact emergency medical services, and transfer patients to a higher level of medical care. In addition, instruct patients to seek immediate medical care if they develop signs or symptoms of an allergic reaction after their observation period ends and they have left the vaccination location.
You Only Have 3 Years To File A Claim
It’s important that you start the process as soon as possible.
- If you feel ill, check for a positive COVID result before scheduling a vaccine.
- If the test is negative, wear a mask when attending the vaccination appointment.
- If the test is positive, delay the vaccination until the COVID runs its course to avoid spreading it.
- A booster shot can protect you from severe consequences to reinfection.
It is good to remember that these vaccines take some time to affect the antibody response, so a mask might reduce the likelihood of contracting the virus after the vaccine. Some health professionals also recommend a simultaneous flu shot and COVID vaccine or booster, which might also mean experiencing a sore arm only once. A doctors advice on how to treat a sore arm after vaccination typically does not include over-the-counter pain medications before or after consult a health professional to weigh the options.
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How Do The Vaccines Work
- There are three main types of COVID-19 vaccines: messenger RNA , protein subunit and vector.
- All three vaccine types either deliver, or cause our bodies to make, harmless proteins like the ones found on the surface of the COVID-19 virus.
- The vaccine teaches our immune system to recognize the virus. After we are vaccinated, if we are exposed to the virus, our immune system recognizes, attacks and blocks the virus.
Reporting Adverse Events To Vaers
The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System is the nations early warning system that monitors the safety of vaccines after they are authorized or licensed for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration . Reports to VAERS of adverse events are classified as non-serious or serious:
Serious adverse event reportNon-serious adverse event report
Learn more about reporting adverse events to VAERS.
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How To Treat Covid Arm Symptoms:
If you expect you’re dealing with COVID arm, whether that’s a dull pain within the first few days of vaccination or an itchy rash up to a week after your first injection, there are a few things you can do at home. If you don’t have any prior medical conditions that would prevent you from doing so, take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to quell arm pain and antihistamines to reduce itchiness or discomfort on any rashes, per CDC advice. You can also apply ice to your arm if it’s swollen, Dr. Mosquera advises, and an over-the-counter steroid cream for any persistent itching or rash.
You shouldn’t, however, resort to antibiotics for swelling, pain or rashes at your injection site infections are extremely rare, Dr. Mosquera adds, and you’re likely putting yourself in an even worse position. Most COVID arm symptoms are resolved within 1 week, 2 weeks at most for certain individuals, he explains.
Discussing any side effects of the vaccine with your doctor is a great idea, especially if you have a history of allergies. If you are having trouble breathing, a high fever, body aches and fatigue alongside COVID arm conditions, you should speak with a healthcare provider immediately. You may also use the CDC’s VAERS system to report any side effects after your vaccination, as it logs a record that may prompt a follow-up for you if necessary.
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Do I Still Need To Take Precautions If I Get The Covid
The COVID-19 vaccines are still being studied, as there are things we dont yet know about them. For example, researchers are still trying to determine how long the COVID-19 vaccines will help protect against the virus. And while the vaccines can clearly lower the risk of getting serious disease from COVID, its not yet clear how well they can prevent the spread of the virus to others.
For people who are fully vaccinated , the CDC has guidance on things you can now do , as well as what types of precautions you should still be taking. This guidance is being updated regularly, so check the CDC website for details. The CDC guidance may not apply if you have a weakened immune system , so its important to talk with your health care provider about which precautions you still need to take.
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What Are The Side Effects Of The Vaccines
Common side effects that have been reported after getting the vaccines include:
- Pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site
- Feeling tired
- Muscle and joint pain
For the vaccines that require two shots as part of the initial series, the side effects might be a little stronger after the second shot compared to what you might have had after the first injection. In general, the side effects tend to go away within a few days.
How Does The Vaccine Function
When a vaccine enters the arm or thigh muscle, it gets carried into a nearby lymph node. The vaccine is then taken up by special cells that teach the white blood cells, known as T cells and B cells, to either become killer cells, which seek out and destroy coronavirus-infected cells or antibody-secreting cells.
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Why Does The Arm Feel Sore After A Vaccine
Flu and COVID-related vaccines work on the same principle: deliberately triggering an immune response against a virus. Older vaccines may contain a component of the specific virus so that the bodys immune system can learn to recognize it and develop defenses. Newer COVID vaccines work differently, containing RNA instead of proteins and causing the cells to manufacture virus spike proteins .
The RNA in the vaccine does not cause the body harm because the vaccine does not contain viral components, only something the immune system can recognize as something foreign to develop its antibodies. The overactive immune system then triggers an inflammatory response, irritating the nerve fibers, which causes pain and itching.
The inflammatory response causes a flow of blood to the injection area. Thats why the tissue and muscles may feel swollen and tender. A sore arm is effectively one of the signs that your immune system is developing a response to counteract the virus, though it can be incredibly uncomfortable.
More Vaccinations For Covid
After over a year of coronavirus pandemic closures, cancellations and postponements, everyone is eager to think about returning to work, school, sports, family celebrations and social activities. Though no one is sure when the pandemic will be over, every person who gets protection from the coronavirus by getting a vaccination helps us move closer to normal life.
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/6which Arm Should You Get The Vaccine In
It’s absolutely your choice which arm you want to get the vaccine in. But as the pain remains for a day or two after the vaccination, it is best to choose the non-dominant arm, which is the left one for most people. If you are a lefty, you can get the vaccine in the right arm.
As opposed to this, there are a few people who feel that the soreness in the arm gets relieved by movement and thus they choose their dominant arm to get the vaccine and ease the pain quickly. The continuous movement of the arm can increase the blood flow in the affected area and help relieve the soreness and pain after the vaccination.
Helpful Tips To Relieve Side Effects
Talk to a doctor about taking over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin , or antihistamines for any pain and discomfort experienced after getting vaccinated.
People can take these medications to relieve side effects after vaccination if they have no other medical reasons that prevent them from taking these medications normally. Ask your childs healthcare provider for advice on using a non-aspirin pain reliever and other steps you can take at home to comfort your child after vaccination.
It is not recommended to take these medicines before vaccination for the purpose of trying to prevent side effects.
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Could The Vaccine Cause Issues If Im Getting A Mammogram
Getting a COVID-19 vaccine might result in swollen lymph nodes under the arm in which the injection was given.
Swollen lymph nodes under the arm might show up on a mammogram done to screen for breast cancer, which could cause concern and might lead to the need for further tests.
If youre scheduled for a mammogram soon after you get a COVID-19 vaccine, its important to tell your doctor when and in which arm you received the injection. Based on your situation, they can discuss with you if you should change your mammogram appointment. Do not delay your mammogram without speaking to your doctor first.
If You Had A Severe Allergic Reaction To A Covid
Anyone who has had a severe allergic reaction after receiving a particular type of COVID-19 vaccine should not get another dose of that type of vaccine. The vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are considered one type of COVID-19 vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson/Janssen is considered another type .
A severe allergic reaction can cause a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, swelling of the throat, or a generalized rash or hives. A person with a severe allergic reaction needs to be treated with epinephrine and should seek immediate medical attention.
Learn about common side effects of COVID-19 vaccines and when to call a doctor.
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How Do These Vaccines Work
The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines contain messenger RNA , which is a type of genetic material. After a person receives the vaccine, the mRNA enters cells in the body and tells them to make copies of the COVID-19 viruss spike protein . This doesnt cause disease, but it does help teach the immune system to act against the virus if the body is exposed to it in the future.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine contains an adenovirus , which has been changed in the lab so that it contains the gene for the COVID-19 viruss spike protein. Once the adenovirus enters cells in the body, this gene tells the cells to make copies of the spike protein. This triggers the immune system to recognize and attack the COVID-19 virus if the body is exposed to it in the future. The adenovirus in this vaccine is not a live virus because it has been changed so that it can no longer reproduce in the body .
You cannot get COVID-19 from any of these vaccines, as they do not contain the virus that causes COVID-19.
Some vaccines for other diseases contain changed versions of the live viruses that cause the diseases. These live viruses dont cause problems in people with normal immune systems. But they might not be safe for people with weakened immune systems, so live virus vaccines typically are not recommended for cancer patients. However, the COVID-19 vaccines available in the US do not contain these types of live viruses.
Can You Treat It
Treating COVID arm will not reduce your immune systems response to the vaccine. Your immune system has already indicated its responding robustly.
COVID arm should also not stop you from getting your second shot. In some instances, your doctor or vaccination provider may recommend you alternate arms if you had a strong skin reaction to your first vaccine.
Even though its not serious, COVID arm can be uncomfortable. At-home treatments that reduce pain, swelling, and itching include:
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Why Is The Muscle So Important
Most vaccines should be given via the intramuscular route into the deltoid or the anterolateral aspect of the thigh. This optimises the ability of the vaccine to provoke an immune response and minimises adverse reactions at the injection site.
Meanwhile, the Covid-19 vaccines are designed to be injected into the muscle of the upper arm as it is convenient for shots and thought to be less painful than some other areas.
When Covid Arm Occurs
And, Dr. Little notes that of her patients, at least half of the people who had COVID vaccine arm to the first vaccine dose get it again the second time, “but the second COVID vaccine arm reaction usually occurs sooner than the first reaction and lasts a shorter period of time,” she says.”Importantly, this reaction is not a sign of a worrisome allergy and it is not a reason to not get your second vaccine dose,” she reminds.
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