Conway doctor: slightly worse effects could be felt after the second vaccine shot

Tracking The Vaccine

CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) – The CDC says South Carolina is lagging behind most of the country in several metrics for giving the coronavirus vaccine.

As of Thursday, the Palmetto State is last in vaccines received per capita. It’s also towards the bottom in rates of administering the vaccine, including 39th in second doses given.

President-elect Joe Biden says he’s not changing the federal recommendation of receiving two COVID-19 vaccine shots. Biden said Friday the federal government does not have a reserve of second doses, something promised by the Trump Administration.

The former Vice President called the U.S.’s vaccine rollout “a dismal failure.”

“We believe it’s critical that everyone should get two doses within the FDA-recommended timeframe,” said Biden.

Unlike the flu shot, a second COVID-19 booster dose is needed to dramatically improve the vaccine’s effectiveness.

“I’d rather be 95% protected than 50% protected,” said Dr. Paul Richardson, who’s the chief medical officer of Conway Medical Center.

Dr. Richardson says even if someone felt no symptoms or very few after a first dose, slightly worse effects could be felt after the second shot.

“We have seen some low-grade fevers — 99, 100, that kind of number — body aches [and] occasional chills,” he said. “That’s our body’s natural reaction to making antibodies and actually doing what it’s supposed to do.”

Dr. Richardson says you should monitor and treat those symptoms, but they should only last up to 24 hours as your body creates more antibodies.

“It seems like the effects are a little more pronounced with the second one, which makes sense,” said Dr. Richardson. “That first one is our first exposure for most people and then, that second one, you’ve been exposed before, so your body is going to act a little more aggressively.”

Dr. Richardson says you should also let your doctor know about symptoms after either shot. This is especially true if you experience prolonged arm soreness or a large bump where you were injected.

You also need to keep taking precautions like wearing masks and social distancing because it’s still possible for you to get infected with COVID-19 in between doses.

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