Why the Second COVID Shot Makes You Miserable

These unpleasant effects are a result of the way the immune system works

4/18/2021 6:59:00 PM

These unpleasant effects are a result of the way the immune system works

Unpleasant side effects are in part a consequence of lightning-quick vaccine development.

She woke up the next morning experiencing what felt like the worst hangover of her life. After some Tylenol and coffee, she felt almost better by late morning and was well enough to host a small birthday party for her 10-year-old twins. Then, at bedtime, it was round two, this time including violent chills. A night’s rest helped, but the following day she still felt under the weather.

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Wynter’s experiences may not have been exactly typical, but they weren’t unusual, either: The second dose of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines really do pack a wallop. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that while 30 percent of recipients experienced fatigue and a quarter suffered headaches after the first dose, those figures climbed to 54 percent and 46 percent, respectively, after the second dose. The number experiencing chills or fever climbed from 9 percent to 30 percent.

These unpleasant effects are a result of the way the immune system works. When a pathogen like COVID attacks, it destroys cells and triggers a first-wave response, so-called innate immunity, which results in inflammation and activates a horde of white blood cells. It also triggers a second system, so-called acquired immunity. A small number of white blood cells identify unfamiliar proteins associated with the threat, and over the course of the next ten days or so, these cells multiply so they’ll be ready if it ever returns. headtopics.com

A vaccine tries to forewarn the acquired immune system by presenting it with pieces of the pathogen that it can later recognize. But if it does that outside of the context of an innate immune response, the acquired immune system won’t be triggered to react. To fix that problem, vaccines contain substances called adjuvants that biochemically sound the innate-immunity alarm. When you get your first vaccination jab, it’s the adjuvants that tell your body it’s under attack. When you get your second jab, both adjuvants and the pieces of pathogen sound the alarm. “The immune system is already primed and ready to have a bigger response,” says Rachel Roper, a professor of microbiology at East Carolina University.

It takes time for acquired immunity to swing into action, which is why Wynter didn’t start to feel sick until the evening of her shot. After about 24 to 36 hours, her body gradually absorbed the adjuvants and the viral proteins, and the immune system responded by going back to its resting state.

People over 55 are less likely to report being steamrolled by either the first or the second dose because their immune systems have faded with time and are less able to mount a vigorous defense. “The adaptive response decreases as you age,” says Matthew Woodruff, an immunologist at Pace University. “That’s why it’s always more difficult to get a good vaccine response in aging populations.” Seasonal flu shots, which provoke a fairly weak innate immune response and so generally don’t kick anyone’s ass, can trigger such a weak response in older patients that they are sometimes made in special elderly-friendly formulations, which include extra adjuvants. If a young person were to take that version, it would more likely flatten them.

The fact that Pfizer and Moderna vaccines hit some recipients so hard is also due in part to the fact that they were created in record time, in response to a disease that was poorly understood and spreading quickly. “When the scientists originally designed the vaccine trial, they wanted maximum efficacy,” Roper explains. With the focus on saving lives, side effects were a secondary concern. “A much lower dose for the booster may be just as effective with fewer side effects,” she says, “but we don’t have data to prove that.” headtopics.com

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(In the race to get their vaccines to market, Moderna and Pfizer were lucky to avoid the rare but more dangerous side effects that have struck some recipients of the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. On Tuesday, the CDC and FDA recommended that use of the latter be suspended pending further investigation after six women suffered a severe type of blood clot and one died.)

For her part, Wynter worries that telling others about her symptoms might discourage others from getting their second shot because “they’re scared of feeling crappy for a couple of days.”Woodruff sees it as a matter of maintaining public trust. “We in the scientific community and the medical community can’t shy away from talking about this stuff,” he says. “The truth is bigger than any individual vaccine. We have to be open and honest and realistic and talk about the shortcomings and provide a larger context. I think that’s our job.”

Read more: New York Magazine »

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Absolutely *zero* side effects with 2nd shot: husband and I, our entire *large* extended family (with the exception of one member who felt tired afterward). One friend back in Seattle (out of many) had a rash briefly. Otherwise *NADA* - way overblown by media. JimFaas dit soort dingen kan ik beter niet lezen. Ik ben al zenuwachtig genoeg voor de eerste prik, laat staan nu de tweede

When you retweet two week old articles that don’t have correct facts on a significant point, I.e. you vastly understate the percentage of those who didn’t return for the second dose - don’t you think you need to, you know, correct your wrong statement? clairewad 2nd Moderna wallopee here - the chills were epic! Glad I’m protected!

Second Pfizer jab had the opposite effect on me. I was so juiced, I woke up at 5AM the next day and went for a run. I was absolutely wired. Must have been all that low-grade stress of not being vaccinated that was lifted. that 2nd jab kicked my ass. I feel better now but damn that fucked my shit up good.

I had no side effects except a little sleepy. Too many objections to this useful article. Transparent & detailed public health information, including that re adverse effects, is exactly what is needed to create public confidence. Hiding facts [re pharmaceuticals] is what creates fear and paranoia. I had bad chills and a 102 fever after the second dose of Moderna. But survived. It only lasted 1.5 days.

BS—most people I know, including self were fine/didn’t miss a beat. This is so irresponsible—do you want this epidemic to go on forever? What positioning in headline. Had my second dose of Pfizer last week. Felt fine, no side effects. NY Mag. Is creatinb fear and paranoia.

Why is it that I only read about Americans having problems with the 2nd dose? I'm American, living in Europe, and I've not heard one person complain about side effects. Nor did my 90-year old mother in the US have a problem. Please stop with this shit Stop sensationalizing media! It’s not that bad. Meh all I got was a sore arm from the second Pfizer one

Your articles aren't being seen by nearly enough people, including those you exclude on Twitter & FB because you impose free article limits. You cheat everyone: the readers, your writers, and the free press. And no one benefits from the invaluable information you purposely deny. And no one is tracking the side effects. Most doctors are unaware you’ve got the vaccine, since it’s been done at general sites. There’s no follow up, and no standard database for side effects being tracked state, or nationwide. What are we missing? 🤔☝️

I personally liked getting confirmation that it was working. But I’d do it again. Typical New York Magazine being IRRESPONSIBLE. Not everyone has a reaction to the second shot. Unscientifically, it appears the majority of people over 70 and under 40 ish seem to be mostly without side effects. Anyone who had Covid gets a response.

Maybe not the the best moment to post an article with that headline.

If you post an article that is in the publics interest in this pandemic. It should not be blocked from viewing. Yeah. So that headline is like a public health hazard. Ugh. Be responsible. I so need this info thank you editor Wife had 2 Moderna shots... NO problem, nada. I had 2 Moderna shots... NO problem, nada. NYMag - STOP making up stuff .....

I had my second Pfizer vaccine shot on Saturday. I had absolutely no side effects what-so-ever with either of them. Didn't even feel the second shot going in. So do not go and scare people. I had zero side effects from either dose of pfizer (except sore arm) - neither did most people i have talked to Breaking! 192 hours, 8 days in a row: Wind electricity in UK & Scotland = 5.4% capacity