COVID-19 vaccination – why can you feel worse after the second dose?

COVID-19 vaccination - why can you feel worse after the second dose?

COVID-19 vaccines are already available on the market, but due to their limited quantity, the highest risk groups are vaccinated first. Importantly, one dose of the product does not give sufficient immunity, so it is necessary to take a second dose as well. Why do some people feel worse after the second administration of the vaccine?

How many doses of COVID-19 vaccine are there?

The vaccine for COVID-19 should be taken in two doses. Only a few or even several days after taking the second one do you get actual protection. However, it is important to remember that no preparation completely protects against the disease. Commercially available vaccines for coronavirus, according to studies, are 95% effective. So far, it is known that vaccination protects against symptomatic passage of COVID-19, but it is uncertain whether protection also extends to the asymptomatic version of coronavirus. In view of this, even those who have been vaccinated should maintain sanitary standards – washing and disinfecting their hands, wearing masks, and keeping a social distance – so that if they pass asymptomatic, they do not transmit the virus further.

Whether vaccination protects against asymptomatic COVID-19 is very difficult to test. It would be necessary to test tens of thousands of people 2 or 3 times a week. Before the vaccine’s effectiveness in this regard can be confirmed or ruled out, everyone should follow the recommendations.

Read: Painful arm after COVID-19 vaccination

Second dose of the vaccine

According to the study, the first dose of the product stimulates the immune system, but only works to a certain extent. It is estimated that about 14 days after administration of the vaccine, immunity of 50% is achieved. This is still not enough, so a second dose is necessary. The second dose of the vaccine boosts the immune response. Simply put, it makes the immune system of the vaccinated person begin to function fully. Between vaccinations, you should take special care of yourself – a possible illness can postpone the next dose, and this will affect immunity to COVID-19.

Depending on which formulation you are vaccinated with, the second dose is given three weeks after the first – Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine – or four weeks after the first – Moderna vaccine. As a result, full immunity after vaccination with Pfizer/BioNTech is achieved about four weeks after the first dose, and after Moderna after about six weeks.

Why might some people feel unwell after the second dose?

The COVID-19 vaccine is fully tested, yet some people are afraid to take it. The side effects after the second dose are particularly talked about. Why do some people experience unpleasant symptoms such as fatigue, headache, muscle and joint pain, chills, fever and pain at the injection site after the second dose of the vaccine? This is due to an immune response.

Already after the first administration, antibodies appear in the body. Their presence increases the risk of the mentioned symptoms – this is a physiological reaction and is not counted as an adverse reaction. It is directly related to building immunity to the coronavirus. The first contact with SARS-CoV-2 makes the body slowly learn how to react to effectively counteract the virus. On second contact with the coronavirus, this learning is no longer necessary, so the immune response will be faster and more effective – hence the disease symptoms.

According to the study, mild post-vaccination symptoms, such as redness at the vaccine site, were reported in 0.1% of people after the first dose. After the second, mild but slightly more severe symptoms can be observed a day or two after receiving the injection.

And who cannot be vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2?

Among those who will not receive the vaccination are seniors with unstable chronic diseases, taking immunosuppressive drugs or undergoing other intensive drug treatment. Then, in order to protect them from coronavirus, it is recommended to use the so-called cocoon method, that is, to vaccinate all their immediate family members.


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