Rash, soreness, fatigue among side effects that can accompany COVID-19 vaccine

BOSTON (WHDH) - As the number of vaccinated individuals continues to grow, more and more people have been reporting side effects that can sometimes accompany the COVID-19 shot, including fatigue, arm rashes, and soreness.

Medical experts say the vaccine has been known to cause mild symptoms but nothing that should deter eligible residents from getting the shot.

“The side effects are seen in about 10 to 20 percent of people after their first dose,” said Dr. Mark Siedner, an infectious disease clinician at Massachusetts General Hospital. “They’re seen in most people after their second dose.”

The most common side effects are muscle aches, fatigue, and headache, but they are all indicators that signal the body is responding properly to the vaccine, according to Siedner.

Side effects are actually more common in young people, Siedner added.

“The older we get, the older our immune system gets, and so the less inflammatory our body will be in response to a virus we’ve seen before when we’re older than when we were younger,” Siedner said. “This is one of the few times that being older is probably better when it comes to medical issues.”

One of the rare side effects of the shot is the formation of a large rash around the injection site, commonly referred to as “COVID arm.” It can be itchy and sore but not dangerous.

“It almost always goes away, so it’s not something that we’re getting too concerned about,” Siedner said. “It’s relatively rare but it’s short-lived and it’s not harmful.”

Between five and 10 out of every one million doses results in a severe allergic reaction, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“One or two days of some muscle aches and headaches is a small price to pay to get back to being able to see our families again, prevent hospitalizations, and prevent the deaths that we’ve seen over the past year,” Siedner said.

He didn’t recommend taking ibuprofen prior to getting the vaccine by said it was OK to use after the shot is administered.

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