TWIN FALLS — Once the COVID-19 vaccine became available, the South Central Public Health District began receiving phone calls from concerned residents about potential side effects.
With a huge push to get the vaccine as the COVID-19 surge continues, calls are once again coming in. Now, the health district is working to reassure residents of the effectiveness of the vaccine and why some people may experience side effects.
The health district has been trying to calm some people's nerves by explaining that side effects from vaccines are common.
“Side effects from a vaccine is not new," said Brianna Bodily, the spokesperson for the South Central Public Health District." We all know somebody who has had minor symptoms or side effects from the flu vaccine. Somebody who had, say the TDap vaccine (Tetanus vaccine) and their arm really hurt or had some slight fevers.”
Plenty of people who have received the vaccine have not experienced any sort of sickness. But for those who have, there could be an array of different reactions.
“A fever, a headache, might even have some muscle aches and pain, you could have a little bit of nausea," said Bodily. "All of those are once again signs that the body is identifying a lesson it is supposed to learn, figuring out how to fight the virus that the vaccine is teaching it to fight, and then it’s normalizing it again.”
It's not exactly known why some people have adverse reactions and others do not. However, what has been seen is some people who have got more sick than others is that they have another underlying health condition weakening their immune system and in some cases other outlying factors.
“A lot of people who did better were well-rested and people who suffered a little bit more were having a harder time with their health in other ways," said Bodily. "Even things as simple as not getting enough sleep, or not eating healthy, or being extremely stressed."
Health officials say these effects should last anywhere between 24 to 48 hours. If these effects last more than a few days, people are encouraged to contact a doctor.
There are rare cases where people who are experiencing more severe reactions other than a slight fever or muscle pain should also contact a medical professional since it could indicate a medical emergency.
“Anything that might indicate you’re not breathing very well," said Bodily. "If your lips start turning blue or gray, if you have difficulty breathing, if you have pain in your chest, if you have extreme headaches for more than a couple of days.”
Health officials are continuing to encourage people to receive the vaccine due to how minor the side effects have been for people who have gotten them and how effective the vaccine has been for a large portion of the population across the U.S. as well as how small the percentage is of people who have had more severe reactions.