LUBBOCK, Texas — Lubbock medical experts said common side effects from all three virus vaccine booster shots include a sore arm, headache, fever, aches, chills and in some cases nausea.
These “mild” flu-like symptoms are similar to what many experience with the second vaccine dose, and they’re actually a “good thing.”
“It’s the normal immune process when you introduce something foreign, the body’s going to go after it … When you’re exposed to COVID-19, you want to fight it,” said Dr. Mike Ragain, Chief Medical Officer at University Medical Center.
Dr. Ragain said these side effects should last about 24 hours. All three boosters elicit a similar immune response, and he wouldn’t recommend one in particular above the rest. He emphasized it’s important to simply get the vaccine and the booster — if eligible — for critical protection against the virus.
However, he added, other factors could impact the length and the severity of your booster symptoms, such as if you were recently sick or even sleep-deprived.
Wesley Wells, the Regional Director of Pharmacy for Covenant Health, said each person is different, and you can’t predict what your booster response will look like.
“I know some people that had reactions with their second dose that had no reactions with the booster, while there’s others that did fine with their first two doses, had their booster, and then had those fever, aches, chills and had to take the day off of work,” Wells said.
Both health professionals explained they were surprised that their own second dose of the vaccine was worse than the Pfizer boosters they received.
“I really thought I was going to have a worse reaction on the third one, and it was like nothing,” Ragain said.
“The biggest thing I had [with the booster] was arm soreness. I think that’s because I’m a wimp,” Wells joked.
To mitigate any potential side effects from the booster, the experts suggested being well-hydrated and well-rested before your shot. They also said to hold off on getting it if you’ve been sick recently.
If you’re immunocompromised, you work on the front lines or you are pregnant, they said you should definitely consider getting the booster. Experts also said no matter how bad the vaccine side-effects can be, they pale in comparison to the virus.