Expect to see evidence of your immune system waking up, paying attention, and revealing itself in common and various ways — fatigue, body aches, fever and chills, for example. These things inform you that your system is actively alerting it’s defenses. Vaccines are designed to alert the immune system and often result in noticeable (and sometimes not so pleasant) effects. Know specifically what to expect based on your age, gender, and which dose of the vaccine you receive — and maybe even look forward to it, knowing it is a signal that your system is doing exactly what it should!

Here’s the take-away:

Those who have had COVID-19 may experience more effects from the 1st vaccine. Those who have not had COVID-19 may expect more of a reaction from the 2nd vaccine. Women can expect more robust responses to COVID-19 vaccines (and most vaccines in general); scientists suspect this is thanks to estrogen, which has an immune enhancing effect on the immune system, resulting in the body mounting a stronger defense. Conversely, men can expect less of a response to vaccines (and scientists suspect this is due to testosterone, which has an immunosuppressive effect).

Having a high risk medical condition, being an older adult, or being immunocompromised does not mean you will have a stronger reaction. The state of your immune system essentially dictates how much of an effect from the vaccine you will experience. Those with robust immune systems will have a more robust response. People with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to severe COVID-19, and this is precisely why these groups have been prioritized in getting vaccinated.

Symptoms run the gamut and should resolve within a short amount of time: soreness and swelling at the injection site, body aches, diarrhea, fatigue, fever and chills, and headache.

We are seeing patients who identify as “COVID long-haulers” at AIMA of Nashua, PLLC and bear witness that it horribly burdensome and exhausting to live with the long term effects of COVID-19. The people we see who are still reeling from the after effects of a COVID-19 infection suffer from a multitude of daily symptoms including chronic headaches, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, heart palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath, digestive upset, and brain fog.

The long term effects of COVID-19 are far worse than the short term effects of the COVID-19 vaccine. Please consider getting vaccinated. Avoid the risk of ending up with COVID-19 infection long term effects. Protect yourself  — and your community.