Lexington doctor explains vaccine side effects and how to treat them

Published: Apr. 1, 2021 at 9:20 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - More than 153 million of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the US. Each of the three vaccines offered come with the risk of side effects like chills, tiredness, and muscle pains. But not everybody feels them after they get their shot, while others have a strong reaction.

“The thing to keep in mind, all of these symptoms are your immune system getting ready to fight,” Dr. Ryan Stanton said.

But oddly not everyone feels them, while others have strong reactions.

“A lot of it just has to do with your immune system, and whether your immune system is ready to fight it,” Dr. Stanton said. “If you have symptoms, especially with the first one of the two-shot regimen, typically you’ve had exposure or COVID in the past, because your immune system is already ready to fight. Almost everybody is going to have some symptoms to the second one because we’ve already triggered your immune system.”

So is there a way to treat symptoms to make them less severe? In theory, yes, but Dr. Stanton says taking medications could impact the effectiveness the vaccine has, saying it could decrease the max level of protection, or shorten its time span.

“The whole way those are designed, are to knock down the bodies’ natural defenses that are producing those symptoms,” Dr. Stanton said.

Regardless of the risk of not feeling well for a day or so, Dr. Stanton encourages everyone to get vaccinated the first chance you can. He says some are “vaccine shopping,” or waiting to get a particular shot, which just delays getting to herd immunity.

“The earlier we get vaccinated, protected, and if lucky reaching herd immunity with enough people getting the vaccine, we’ll basically be almost done with COVID,” Dr. Stanton said. “We’ll significantly knock down the numbers so that it’s only more of an afterthought and something that we track in medicine.”

Dr. Stanton says with a large enough margin of vaccine hesitancy, he fears we will still see COVID with moderate numbers for some time.

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