Local doctors say vaccine benefits outweigh potential second dose side effects

Local doctors say vaccine benefits outweigh potential second dose side effects

Olivia Sandusky

After getting his second dose of the coronavirus vaccine,
Dr. Richard Loftus says he experienced mild symptoms.   

“Into dinner time I really didn’t notice much of anything expect maybe a sore arm, but by bed time my arm was sore like a tetanus shot would feel, and I felt a bit achey. I struggled a little bit to sleep,” said Dr. Loftus.

The FDA lists fever, headaches and joint pain as other possible side effects, and notes they’re most commonly felt after the second shot.

However, not all patients have the same experience. 

“Our nurses and doctors have mostly all been vaccinated. Most people had no reaction at all. The anxiety over having a reaction is worse than the actual reaction,” said Dr. Euthym Kontaxis with Eisenhower Health. 

Some of those anxieties and concerns have led patients to consider skipping the second dose.

But Dr. Loftus says the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

“Feeling a little achy for a day versus maybe getting an infection that could disable or kill you? Seems to me like it’s worth it,” said Dr. Loftus. 

And the efficacy numbers alone show the importance of the follow up appointment.

After one dose, Dr. Kontaxis says protection is between just 50 and 70 percent.

“And then 95 percent with the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine with the second dose,” said Dr. Kontaxis. 

On top of that, the second round can also impact how long a patient will have immunity from the virus.

“The reason why we do two doses is to strengthen that protection and to make sure the protection is longer lasting. After that second dose that may make the difference between protection for months versus protection for years,” said Dr. Loftus. 

Patients may experience mild symptoms 24 to 48 hours after the injection, but doctors say to contact your health care provider if they extend beyond that time frame.

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