PORTSMOUTH, Va (WAVY) — As vaccines begin to open up to the general public, we know you have questions, including about how the shot affects you.
10 On Your Side’s Stephanie Harris talked to a local doctor about why different people who have had different brands of shots may react differently.
Some get the shot and feel nothing, while others are down for the count. Is it because one got Pfizer the other got Moderna or Johnson & Johnson?
Dr. Megan McGavern says no, the different reactions don’t depend on the brand.
“This can happen with any vaccine. It’s not just the COVID vaccines,” she said.
Despite what you may have heard, McGavern told WAVY that the brand doesn’t matter. She also has seen no difference in reactions between men and women, or between those who have had COVID-19 and those who have not.
However, she did tell 10 On Your Side that some other variables could affect reactions to the shot.
“Personally, in my practice, I have seen a difference with age. So it seems my patients 65 and older have not had a single reaction — like, I’m not joking,” she said.
She thinks there’s an easy explanation.
“As you get older, your immune system isn’t able to mount as fierce a response to it as you are in your younger years,” McGavern said.
Younger adults are more likely to have a reaction after their second dose: headache, fatigue even fevers as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit is a natural reaction, she said.
Your body is mounting a defense.
You can take either ibuprofen or acetaminophen to treat side effects, but McGavern said it’s best to take them only if you get the side effects.
“Certainly you don’t want to take it before the vaccine, because we don’t know if your immune system will be able to mount as good of a response,” she said.
Alcohol, as in a drink or two, before a shot will not interfere with building immunity.
Also, if you have no reaction at all, don’t worry. The shot is still giving you protection.
Most reactions last no longer than 48 hours however, some people are developing a rash on their arm that can appear a week after the shot and last for a week after that.
If you have a history of allergies, check with your allergist before rolling up your sleeve.