Teens experience side effects after Pfizer’s shot slightly more than adults do. A chart shows the most common.

kid pfizer vaccine
Malikai McPherson, 16, receives Pfizer’s vaccine at a clinic in Melbourne, Florida, on May 17, 2021.

During the initial week of Pfizer’s vaccine rollout for 12- to 15-year-olds, roughly 600,000 adolescents received their first shots.

Scientists expected the vaccine to be effective in young people even before trial results were released – our immune systems get weaker with age, so children and adolescents typically develop strong protection from vaccines. Indeed, Pfizer’s clinical trials showed that the vaccine was 100% effective among 12- to 15-year-olds: Out of more 1,100 adolescents who received the shot, none developed COVID-19.

Moderna, meanwhile, announced on Tuesday that its vaccine was also found to be 100% effective among 12- to 15-year-olds in clinical trials. The immune responses among adolescents appeared comparable to that in adults.

But adolescents seem to develop side effects more frequently after Pfizer’s shot than adults. That’s likely because kids’ immune systems do an excellent job of revving up quickly.

“That feeling of yuckiness and fatigue and fever is your body making a great immune response,” Dr. Sharon Nachman, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, told Insider.

The chart below shows the most common side effects among adolescents and young adults (people ages 16 to 25) after Pfizer’s vaccine, depending on the dose.

For the most part, these side effects aren’t too different from those recorded among older adults.

Fatigue and headaches were more prevalent among adolescents than adults

The most common side effect among adolescents in Pfizer’s trial was injection-site pain: Nearly 91% of 12- to 15-year-olds reported that after either vaccine dose. Fatigue was the second-most common, with 78% reporting the symptom. About 76% reported headaches.

Nearly half of adolescents also reported chills after either dose of Pfizer’s shot, while 42% reported muscle pain. Fever and joint pain weren’t as prevalent, though: 24% and 20% of adolescents reported these side effects, respectively.

kids pfizer vaccine
Children ages 12 to 15 get vaccinated at the Cross River Center in Lowell, Massachusetts, on May 13, 2021.

In general, almost all of the vaccine’s side effects were more prevalent among adolescents than adults. About 84% of people ages 18 and older who participated in Pfizer’s clinical trials reported injection site pain, while 63% reported fatigue and 55% reported headaches.

Pfizer’s second shot amplifies an existing immune response, so people typically feel more run-down after that dose. That was true overall for both adults and adolescents in clinical trials. Both age groups also saw the side effects stop within a few days.

Clinical trials are studying the vaccines among kids younger than 12

mother stroller vaccine
A mother with her baby girl awaits her turn to be vaccinated in Sardinia, Italy, on May 15, 2021.

Pfizer’s shot isn’t the first to be distributed to teens – the Food and Drug Administration authorized Moderna’s vaccine for 16- and 17-year olds in December.

Moderna’s chief executive officer, Stéphane Bancel, said in a statement that the company will ask the FDA to authorize its shot for 12- to 15-year-olds in early June. Johnson & Johnson, meanwhile, started testing its single-dose vaccine in adolescents ages 12 to 17 in April.

Moderna and Pfizer are both still testing their vaccines’ safety and efficacy among younger children. Pfizer expects to have data about its shot’s effectiveness among kids ages 2 to 11 by September, followed by data for children ages 6 months to 2 years in November. Moderna could produce similar data for kids between 6 months and 11 years soon after.

Public-health experts widely agree that vaccinating kids could help the US reach herd immunity – the threshold beyond which the virus can’t spread easily from person to person – much faster.

“As you have new children enter the population, they’re going to be susceptible,” Rahul Subramanian, a data scientist at the University of Chicago, told Insider. “When we vaccinate children, it helps us maintain herd immunity.”

This story has been updated with new information. It was originally published on May 19, 2021.

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Coronavirus vaccines are exceeding expectations in the real world – even in the face of variants

woman getting vaccine
A physician injects a patient with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

  • Coronavirus vaccines are proving just as effective in real life as they were in clinical trials.
  • That indicates that the vaccines are holding up well against variants.
  • In Pfizer’s case, the shot also seems to yield fewer side effects than in clinical trials.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

By the time coronavirus vaccines were rolled out to the public, tens of thousands of people had already received their shots in clinical trials.

The results of those studies gave us a good sense of how well the vaccines worked: Pfizer’s was found to reduce the risk of getting COVID-19 by 95%, while Moderna’s had an efficacy of 94.5%. Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose shot, meanwhile, was found to cut the risk of infection by 66% globally – and by 72% among US trial participants.

But the three trials were difficult to compare side by side, since they happened at different stages in the pandemic and in different geographic regions.

Now, real-world studies are beginning to offer a clearer picture of how well the vaccines perform outside trials and in the face of emerging variants.

For the most part, it’s great news: Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines seem to be just as effective in real life as in their trials. Recent studies have also found that both shots prevent asymptomatic infections, a result that wasn’t yet known when the trial data came out.

A March report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Pfizer and Moderna’s shots were, as a whole, 80% effective at preventing coronavirus infections – with or without symptoms – after just one dose, and 90% effective after two doses.

Similarly, an Israeli study found that Pfizer’s vaccine was 94% effective against asymptomatic infections. That’s likely a sign that the shots reduce transmission.

variant lab
Researchers sequence coronavirus samples at the microbiology laboratory of the University Hospital of Badajoz in Spain, April 15, 2021.

J&J’s shot also seems to be matching its trial results in real life.

A recent study, which is still awaiting peer review, found that J&J’s shot was about 76% effective at preventing all coronavirus infections. (Clinical trials suggested it was 74% effective at preventing asymptomatic infections.)

But the study’s sample size was small: around 1,800 patients observed at The Mayo Clinic from February to April. Just three of those individuals tested positive for the coronavirus 15 days or more after getting vaccinated.

Vaccines are holding up well against variants

As coronavirus variants began to circulate widely in December, some scientists worried that Pfizer’s or Moderna’s shots would stop performing as well as they did in the summer and fall. That’s because the companies’ late-stage trials took place from July to November, when new coronavirus variants weren’t as prevalent.

By contrast, J&J’s late-stage trial took place slightly later in the pandemic, from September to January. The trial also included participants who got infected with B.1.351, a variant first identified in South Africa. The variant has been shown to partially evade antibodies generated in response to vaccines or prior natural infections.

But a large study of Pfizer recipients in Israel suggests that new variants haven’t diminished the vaccine’s effectiveness. From January to March, the Israel Ministry of Health collected data from millions of people who were vaccinated with Pfizer’s shot. By that time, B.1.1.7, a more contagious variant first discovered in the UK, was the dominant strain in Israel.

Pfizer’s vaccine was still found to be at least 97% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.

Israel vaccine injection
Staff of the Maccabi Health vaccination center administer Pfizer doses inside a mall parking lot in Tel Aviv, Israel on January 26, 2021.

Pfizer’s shot has also performed well against variants in Qatar: New research found that people in Qatar who were fully vaccinated with Pfizer’s shot were 75% less likely to get a COVID-19 case caused by the B.1.351 variant than unvaccinated people were. They were also around 90% less likely to develop COVID-19 caused by the B.1.1.7 variant discovered in the UK.

“The vaccines that we have so far seem to be effective against most of the variants, if not all the variants, they’ve really been tested against,” David Dowdy, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told Insider.

Pfizer’s side effects may be less common in real life

johnson & johnson vaccine line
Kristine Ko, right, waits in line for her vaccine at a walk-up mass vaccine site in Los Angeles, California, on April 8.

Coronavirus vaccines have generally produced mild, short-lived side effects both in and out of clinical trials. But emerging evidence suggests that Pfizer’s side effects may be less common in real life.

Around 63% of participants in Pfizer’s clinical trial reported fatigue, while 55% reported headaches and 38% reported muscle pain. But after 28,000 Pfizer recipients recorded their side effects in an app, UK researchers analyzed the data and found that less than 15% of people reported fatigue after either their first or second dose. Similarly, less than 14% of the people self-reported headaches and 5% or less reported muscle pain after either their first or second dose.

In J&J’s case, however, rolling out the vaccine to the public revealed a very rare side effect that wasn’t spotted in clinical trials. As of Wednesday, the CDC had identified 28 cases of thrombocytopenia syndrome – a rare combination of blood clots and low platelet counts – among 8.7 million recipients of J&J’s vaccine.

“When you start vaccinating people, you have a much, much, much larger sample size – in the millions,” Dr. Vivek Cherian, an internal-medicine physician in Baltimore, previously told Insider. “So when you have these exceedingly rare complications, sometimes you don’t see that until you actually start.”

Since the clotting cases are around 3 in 1 million so far, the CDC has said the benefits of J&J’s shot far outweigh the risks. But the vaccine’s label now warns that the shot may pose an increased risk of clotting, particularly among women under 50.

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Real-world data suggest the side effects from Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are not as bad as expected

Side effects
  • Side effects from the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are less common in the real world than in trials.
  • Research shows that one in four people who got either of those vaccines reported mild side effects.
  • Other vaccines, too, might have lower rates of side effects than clinical trials indicated.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Fewer people reported side effects after their Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines in the real world than in clinical trials, according to a recent study.

About one in four people who got either vaccine reported mild systemic side effects after their COVID-19 shots, according to the study, which was published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal this week. Systemic reactions, by definition, are those that affect the whole body, so the injection-site pain that most people experience isn’t included in the number.

The finding was based on data from the ZOE COVID Symptom Study app. More than 620,000 people in the UK shared their vaccine side effects with the app.

According to that data, far fewer people reported fatigue than in clinical trials: Roughly 14% of app users said they experienced fatigue after their second Pfizer shot, while 63% reported feeling fatigued after either dose during the company’s clinical trials. Among AstraZeneca recipients, about 21% documented fatigue via the app, compared with 53% in trials.

“The data should reassure many people that in the real world, after effects of the vaccine are usually mild and short-lived, especially in the over-50s who are most at risk of the infection,” Tim Spector, the study’s lead author and an epidemiologist at King’s College London, said in a statement.

The most common side effects were headaches and fatigue

Headaches were among the most commonly reported Pfizer vaccine side effects in the ZOE app. According to the Lancet study, about 13% of vaccine recipients said they experienced a headache after their second dose – a much lower portion than in the trial, where 55% of people reported headaches.

Just under 23% of AstraZeneca recipients reported headaches via the app, compared with the nearly 53% who experienced headaches in trials.

Fewer people reported pain at the injection site in the real world, too. Most Pfizer trial participants – 84% – experienced some pain at the injection site after their shots. In the real-world data, 57% of people reported pain at the injection site after their first Pfizer dose, and 51% after their second. The findings were similar for the AstraZeneca vaccine.

However, since all the real-world data were self-reported on the ZOE app, it’s possible that some people forgot to record their side effects or opted not to log all of them.

Because the Lancet study was done in the UK, it didn’t include data on the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Neither of those shots has been authorized there yet.

In J&J’s clinical trials, less than 50% of people reported arm pain, and around 38% reported headaches and fatigue. Nearly 92% of people in the Moderna clinical trials, meanwhile, reported pain at the injection site after the second dose, while nearly 69% reported fatigue, and 63% reported a headache.

If the trend seen among Pfizer and AstraZeneca recipients holds true for these other vaccines, though, it’s possible that real-world recipients in general will report fewer side effects than in clinical trials.

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How to manage your coronavirus vaccine side effects – including tips for avoiding painkillers

vaccine selfie colorado
A person takes a selfie after getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Colorado.

Our immune systems are unique, so people respond differently to coronavirus vaccines.

The side effects you might experience after getting a shot can depend on broad categories like age and sex, as well as more individual characteristics such as genes or history of exposure to infections.

In general, medical experts say, it’s normal to feel uncomfortable for up to 48 hours after your shot. That’s usually a sign that the vaccine is doing its job.

Common side effects include pain at the injection site, fatigue, and headaches. For those receiving Pfizer’s or Moderna’s shots, people also tend to feel more run-down after their second dose.

“That feeling of yuckiness and fatigue and fever is your body making a great immune response,” Dr. Sharon Nachman, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, told Insider.

But there are ways to minimize discomfort, experts said. Here are some tips for managing your vaccine side effects.

Try to avoid pain relievers, if possible

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn’t recommend taking pain relievers before your vaccine. That’s because medications like Tylenol, Advil, or Aleve lower your immune response when you’re banking on your body to do the opposite.

If you need to take a pain pill after your shot, Nachman said Tylenol is the least likely to interfere with your immune response.

“Immediately after the vaccine, I would prefer for you not to take anything,” she said. “On the next day, though, if you feel like you have to take something, I would prefer you take some Tylenol.”

Experts generally recommended trying some natural methods of pain relief first.

Remedies for sore arms: ice and movement

A COVID-19 injection.

Once a vaccine goes into your arm, blood flow increases and immune cells rush to the scene. This can result in pain at the injection site – the most common side effect of all three US-authorized coronavirus vaccines.

The CDC recommends applying a clean, cool washcloth over the area where you received your shot to reduce soreness. An ice park works, too, Dr. Lipi Roy, an internal medicine physician in New York City, wrote on Twitter.

Experts also recommended moving your vaccinated arm to stimulate blood flow.

“By moving the arm, it helps disperse that local area of inflammation faster,” Dr. Daniel Summers, a pediatrician in Maine, recently told Insider.

But don’t massage the vaccine site with your hand, he said – that could worsen inflammation and pain.

Hot showers can help with muscle pain

Muscle pain is among the most common vaccine side effects. Around 60% of participants in Moderna’s clinical trial, 38% of Pfizer participants, and one-third of Johnson & Johnson participants reported the symptom.

Some doctors recommend Epsom salt baths to relieve muscle or body aches, but Nachman there’s an even simpler remedy.

“I actually just tell people to take a nice hot shower,” she said. “It’s accessible to everybody and relatively cheap and most people do feel better after.”

Check your tongue for signs of dehydration

Experts suggested drinking plenty of fluids before and after you’ve received your shot. Side effects like fever and nausea can make you dehydrated. Or, if you’re dehydrated already, that can also make your side effects worse.

Nachman said there’s an easy trick to tell if you should be drinking more water.

“If you stick out your tongue in the mirror and your tongue is white, you’re not hydrated,” she said.

Keep exercise light

exercise gym covid 19
A man wears a face mask while exercising.

Exercising after your shot isn’t necessarily a bad idea – if you’re feeling up to it.

Still, experts suggested not straining yourself beyond your normal level of activity. Even if you’re used to lots of exercise, Nachman said, it’s important to listen to your body.

“If you’re used to doing a 40-mile bike ride, this may not be the day to do it,” she said. “If your body says ‘I can’t roll out of bed,’ then don’t push yourself to get on the treadmill and do a run or do a ride on the bike. Take it easy for that day.”

Plan to take time off work after your second dose

A recent CDC report examined side effects among more than 1.9 million Americans who’d received both doses of Pfizer’s or Moderna’s vaccines. Across the board, side effects were more numerous and severe after the second dose of either vaccine.

The one exception is if you’d have COVID-19 before: A small study from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai found that vaccine side effects such as fatigue, headaches, and chills were more common after the first dose among people with preexisting immunity to the coronavirus than among people who’d never been infected.

In any case, medical experts said, plan to take time off work if you’re feeling run-down.

“Take the sick day because you will be less effective at the work you’re doing,” Nachman said.

Call a doctor if side effects persist after a few days

astrazeneca vaccine
A person receives the AstraZeneca vaccine in Bologna, Italy on March 19, 2021.

The CDC recommends calling a doctor if redness or tenderness at the injection site gets worse after 24 hours.

Nachman said she has also seen some patients develop rashes that take a week or so to resolve. The reaction is more common after Moderna’s vaccine than Pfizer’s, she said. (Nachman said she hasn’t seen enough patients who received J&J’s vaccine to know whether rashes are common after that shot.)

Usually, a rash isn’t cause for concern, she added – unless you develop a fever as well.

“Local redness we see. Local tenderness we definitely see. A bit of a rash we also see. But combination of those with fever? That would be a trigger to have someone else take a look,” Nachman said.

The CDC also recommends calling a doctor if your side effects aren’t going away after a few days. In most cases, however, side effects are a welcome response.

“Remember, that’s your immune system revving up,” Nachman said. “You’ve done a great job immunologically. We’re happy.”

Julia Naftulin contributed reporting.

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US officials may need 2 weeks or more to determine if Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine causes rare blood clots

Pharmacist Madeline Acquilano fills a syringe with the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 Vaccine before inoculating members of the public at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut, on March 3, 2021. - Some 7,400 vials of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 single shot vaccine were delivered and an initial offering of the vaccine was given to ten members of the public. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso / AFP) (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)
A pharmacist at the Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut, fills a syringe with the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

  • US agencies may need two weeks or more to know if Johnson & Johnson’s shot causes rare blood clots.
  • The CDC is shuffling to collect more data, two senior White House health officials told Politico.
  • But medical experts worry that pausing the shot for much longer could increase vaccine hesitancy.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

US federal agencies may need two weeks or more to know whether Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine is linked to rare blood clots, two senior White House health officials told Politico on Saturday.

US regulators recommended a pause in the distribution of J&J’s shot last Tuesday due to six reports of clotting among women who’d recently received the vaccine.

The particular blood clot in question, central venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), forms in the brain – so it can lead to headaches or stroke. In an average year, the condition occurs in about five people out of every million.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine advisory panel is scheduled to convene Friday to discuss whether to lift the vaccine pause. But two health officials told Politico that the CDC still might not have enough data by then to determine if J&J’s vaccine indeed causes rare clots.

US regulators may ultimately consider placing age- or gender-based restrictions on the shot, which has been authorized for people ages 18 and older. Alternatively, regulators could simply deliver stronger warnings about possible blood clots in unusual cases.

Many political leaders and medical experts worry that if regulators take too long to evaluate the potential blood clot link, an increasing share of Americans will lose trust in J&J’s vaccine.

“The longer the pause is, the longer it’s going to take for us to convince people that this particular vaccine is safe again,” Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson told Politico.

Peter Gulick, an associate professor of medicine at Michigan State University, said the J&J pause could delay the prospect of herd immunity – the threshold beyond which the virus won’t be able to pass easily from person to person.

“The fear is that, hearing all this, the anti-vaxxers and even the ones on the fence are falling off the fence now into the arena of ‘I don’t think I want to get any vaccine until things are known a little more,'” Gulick told Insider. “We may have taken two steps backwards as far as our wanting to get herd immunity.”

Searching for blood clots in a ‘muddied water’ of data

johnson and johnson covid vaccine
Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine is delivered as a single shot, while both Pfizer’s and Moderna’s require two jabs.

The CDC’s vaccine advisory panel has already met once to review the rare blood clot cases. At a meeting last Wednesday, the panel recommended continuing the pause on J&J’s vaccine until more data could be gathered.

“It’s important from the perspective of the public: When we say rare, what does that mean?” Dr. Beth Bell, a professor of global health at the University of Washington, said during the meeting. “I want to be able to feel comfortable with my family members and myself getting this vaccine.”

US regulators are now encouraging doctors to report any post-vaccination CVST cases over the last few weeks. Regulators are also working with Johnson & Johnson to find out more about the six reported cases – in particular, whether the women had underlying health problems or were taking any medications that could have predisposed them to clotting.

So far, regulators have noticed a few patterns: The women were between the ages of 18 and 48. They also had a rare combination of CVST and low levels of platelets – colorless blood cells that help clots form.

Before the vaccines were authorized, this combination was primarily seen in association with the blood-thinning drug heparin. In rare cases, people taking the medication develop antibodies that bind to a specific platelet, which can make them more susceptible to clots.

“This observation of the low platelet count is part of the mystery and something that has to be worked through to see if that’s connected or not,” Namandjé Bumpus, director of the pharmacology and molecular sciences department at Johns Hopkins Medicine, told Insider.

But medical experts stressed the need for more data before associating the clots with any particular group yet.

“Everything is just like a big muddied water and then you just try to clear things out as much as you can to try to evaluate what is going on,” Gulick said.

Vaccinations may slow for the homeless, prisoners, or rural Americans

Michigan vaccine
Yvonne Gibbs, 72, receives Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, at the TCF Center in Detroit.

Shortly after US regulators announced a pause in J&J’s vaccine, White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said the recommendation wouldn’t affect the pace of the US vaccine rollout.

“We have more than enough supply of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to continue the current pace of about 3 million shots per day,” Zients said at a Tuesday press briefing.

Indeed, many health departments, pharmacies, and vaccine clinics that planned on administering Johnson & Johnson were able to quickly procure other shots so people didn’t lose their appointments.

But some vaccination sites – particularly those in rural areas – were forced to shut down temporarily. A state-run mass vaccination site in Aurora, Illinois, was canceled earlier this week, terminating appointments of 1,000 people. Around the same time, a Johnson & Johnson clinic in Jefferson County, Illinois, put vaccinations on hold.

The J&J pause has also slowed the pace of vaccinations for homeless people, prisoners, and those unable to leave their homes due to illness or old age. J&J’s vaccine is the only single-dose shot authorized in the US, so it’s the easiest to administer. It’s also easier to store than the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines (it can be kept in standard refrigerators rather than freezers).

On top of that, people may gravitate toward J&J’s vaccine if they’re afraid of needles or have difficulty taking time off work to get vaccinated.

“We’re actually seeing that some people opt for the Johnson and Johnson shot just because of their circumstances – it’s one dose, it’s available, and so on,” Johan Bester, director of bioethics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Medicine, told Insider.

Without the J&J option, medical experts said, US health officials may have a harder time convincing more Americans to get vaccinated – even as new, more contagious variants drive up cases across the country.

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Don’t start doubting the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines – after 185 million doses, there are no red flags about blood clots

Pfizer COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine
A nurse prepares a shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Guy’s Hospital in London on December 8, 2020.

For the first time in the US’s vaccine rollout, regulators have pumped the breaks on an authorized coronavirus shot.

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration together recommended a temporary pause in the distribution of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine while regulators investigate six reports of unusual blood clots.

All six of those cases involved women between 18 and 48 who developed central venous sinus thrombosis, an exceedingly rare type of clot in the brain. One of the women died and another is in critical condition.

Experts aren’t sure why these blood-clot cases developed – or even if there’s a definite cause-and-effect relationship with the vaccine. But there’s no reason to suspect that rare clots would be associated with the US’s other authorized vaccines, they said.

“Instead of taking away confidence from other vaccines, this should actually inspire further confidence in the oversight of these vaccines and definitely should not deter individuals scheduled for either Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to go through with their appointments,” Dr. Vivek Cherian, an internal-medicine physician in Baltimore, told Insider.

Roughly 68 million American have been fully vaccinated with either Pfizer’s or Moderna’s shot since December, and nearly 185 million doses have been administered in total. In that time, US regulators haven’t discovered any significant safety concerns among people who’ve gotten those vaccines. (The CDC tracks vaccine side effects through a tool called V-safe and healthcare providers are required to report adverse reactions via an online system called VAERS.)

“There’s a lot of close scrutiny of these vaccines,” Peter Gulick, an associate professor of medicine at Michigan State University, told Insider.

He added that Pfizer’s and Moderna’s shots are “months ahead of J&J” in their production and rollout, and regulators have yet to see any red flags. Even his HIV patients, Gulick said, haven’t reported severe reactions.

J&J’s vaccine, by contrast, was introduced more recently: It was authorized in late February and has been administered to just under 7 million Americans so far.

“When you start vaccinating people, you have a much, much, much larger sample size – in the millions,” Cherian said. J&J’s clinical trial, by contrast, had just under 44,000 people. “So when you have these exceedingly rare complications, sometimes you don’t see that until you actually start.”

Pfizer’s and Moderna’s shots carry ‘virtually no risk’ of clotting

nurses vaccine
Nurse Janelle Roper, left, administers the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to fellow nurse Kate-Alden Hartman.

In an average year, just two to five out of every 1 million Americans develop central venous sinus thrombosis (CVST).

J&J’s vaccine hasn’t come close to exceeding these normal background levels yet, with fewer than one CVST case for every 1 million doses reported so far. But researchers have also seen some CVST cases among people who got AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine, which bears many similarities to J&J’s.

By early April, European medical officials had identified 169 CVST cases out of more than 34 million people in the EU who’d received AstraZeneca’s shot. That’s still just five cases per 1 million shots, but it was enough for European regulators to conduct an investigation. The UK now recommends that people under 30 years old seek out other shots, if available.

Both AstraZeneca’s and J&J’s shot are viral-vector vaccines, which introduce a coronavirus gene into the body using a genetically engineered common-cold virus. Some scientists are wondering whether the platform itself could be linked to clotting.

Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines, on the other hand, rely on mRNA technology, which uses a snippet of the coronavirus’ genome to trigger an immune response.

At an American Medical Association webinar on Tuesday, Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said the US has identified just three CVST cases among the 68 million people who got the double-dose mRNA vaccines.

In a Tuesday statement, Moderna also said it had carried out its own comprehensive analysis and found no association between its shot and CVST or other types of clotting.

“It’s safe to say there’s virtually no risk in individuals who received mRNA-based [vaccines], but we don’t really have that information yet as far as the viral-vector,” Cherian said.

But he added that even with the viral vector vaccines, “far, far less than even 1% of individuals are actually having these side effects.”

By comparison, a November study found that 20% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients developed blood clots in their veins.

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You are more likely to get a blood clot on birth-control pills than from the J&J vaccine – but not the same type of clot

woman gets johnson & johnson vaccine
A woman receives a Johnson & Johnson vaccine from nurse Gina Reed at a vaccination center at the Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport Hotel in Chicago, Illinois, on March 5, 2021.

  • The CDC and FDA have recommended a pause in the rollout of J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Of the 6.8 million Americans who got the shot, six women are known to have developed blood clots.
  • Blood clots linked to birth-control pills are more common than that, but they’re typically a different type.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The US paused its rollout of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, following six reports of blood clots among people who got the shot.

All six cases involved women between 18 and 48 years old. They developed the clots six to 13 days after their shots, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration. So far, 6.8 million Americans have gotten the J&J vaccine – so if clots are indeed linked to the vaccine (which is not yet known) they’re seen at a rate of less than one in 1 million.

To highlight how small that rate is, some experts have compared the statistic to rates of blood clots among women taking birth-control pills. As many as one in every 100 women taking birth control over a period of 10 years can experience a clot.

“As someone who got the J&J vaccine eight days ago, and who took oral contraceptives for 20 years, I’ll take these odds,” Angie Rasmussen, a virologist from Georgetown University, tweeted on Tuesday.

But it’s challenging to directly compare the clots observed in people who got the J&J vaccine to those among women who take oral contraceptives, for two main reasons. The first is that in the six cases that US regulators are investigating, patients also showed low levels of blood platelets – cells that stop bleeding. That’s not seen among women on birth-control pills who experience clots.

The second reason is that these are mostly not the same types of clots. The rare reaction that might be linked to the J&J shot is called central venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), and it’s a clot in the brain. The clots typically associated with birth-control pills, meanwhile, occur in veins inside the thigh or calf.

“This is a different clinical entity than blood clots associated with oral contraceptives,” Dr. Melanie Swift, an internist and vaccine expert at the Mayo Clinic, told Insider.

The chart below compares the rate of known CVST clots among people who’ve gotten the J&J shot with the risk of that type of clot in the general population.

A second chart compares the rate of any type of blood clots – not only CVST – among COVID-19 patients, women on birth-control pills, and women in general.

Oral contraceptives raise the risk of clots, but they’re still unusual

Estrogen, a hormone in oral contraceptives, is linked to as much as a four-fold higher risk of any type of blood clot. That’s because it prompts the body to produce more of the plasma that helps blood stick together.

Still, pill-associated clots are quite unusual.

“For women taking combined oral contraceptives, blood clotting is a very small risk but a serious condition,” Dr. Melanie Davies, a gynecologist in London and professor at University College London, told Insider. She said the risk can be compared to rare but serious events like a car crash.

“For 10,000 women over a year, one to five will have a blood clot anyway, and on the [pill] that rises to three to nine, so it is still less than one in 1,000 chance,” she said. “It’s also important to know that this is much less than the risk of getting blood clots in pregnancy and after childbirth.”

As many as 65 out of every 10,000 new mothers experience a clot in the three months after childbirth.

birth control pill

A false comparison

Most birth-control-linked clots are found in women’s legs, though they can also sometimes travel from the legs to the lungs.

“When you’re looking at clots that are associated with birth control, those are usually going to be in the form of a deep vein thrombosis and very rarely a pulmonary embolism,” Dr. Jessica Shepherd, an OB-GYN in Dallas who serves as the chief medical officer of VeryWell Health, told Insider.

Overall, your chance of developing deep vein thrombosis is one in 1,000 every year.

CVST, by contrast, occurs in the brain when the sinuses that drain blood from your head get blocked. About five people out of every million in the general population experience this each year. Women on birth control face a higher risk of CVST than men and than women who aren’t on the pill.

Several studies have also shown that some COVID-19 patients get diagnosed with CVST.

For the FDA and CDC, concerns over blood clots among J&J recipients wasn’t so much about the total number of cases, but rather that the patients also had low levels of blood platelets. According to Swift, the number of people who get this combination of symptoms is so small that it’s “too low to provide a population estimate.”

“This type of a combination of low platelets and blood clots has been very rarely seen in the past in other situations as an autoimmune phenomenon, but it’s very, very rare,” Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the FDA, said during a briefing on Tuesday.

‘An abundance of caution’

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A nurse loads a syringe with a dose of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine on March 9, 2021 in Athens, Ohio.

Experts say people who’ve already gotten the J&J shot shouldn’t panic.

“If they have received the shot and it has been over two weeks since getting the shot, they should not worry, as the problem seems to occur early,” Dr. Paul Geopfert, a professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham who worked on the J&J trial, told Insider. “It is also extremely rare, so it seems unlikely we will see many more in light of the safety pause.”

Those who have gotten a J&J shot in the last two weeks, Geopfert added, can look out for clot-related symptoms: “CVST would be more associated with severe headaches, confusion, and loss of consciousness,” he said.

Typical vaccine side effects like fatigue aren’t likely to signal a clot.

The US health agencies said they recommended this pause “out of an abundance of caution” and to give healthcare professionals time to understand the potential risks and treat patients accordingly.

“I respect the independence of the FDA and their need to evaluate risk. But six out of 6.8 million is not a lot, and if they are going to land on ‘we reviewed the data and everything is fine,’ they need to be clear and quick and unequivocal,” Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz tweeted.

Dr. Catherine Schuster-Bruce contributed reporting to this story.

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Johnson & Johnson had a very bad week – but fears of negative reactions and blood clots are likely overblown

johnson & johnson vaccine
Nurse Elizabeth Johnson administers a COVID-19 vaccine to Melissa Mendez in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine rollout hit several unfortunate snags this week – some far worse than others.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that 62 million of the company’s vaccine doses must be checked for contamination, following an error at a Maryland manufacturing plant that already ruined 15 million doses. The plant’s workers accidentally mixed up some vaccine ingredients last month.

Then a vaccination site in Colorado, three sites in North Carolina, and one in Georgia all temporarily stopped administering Johnson & Johnson’s shot after about 45 people in total experienced minor adverse reactions involving nausea, dizziness, fainting, or lightheadedness.

To top it off, European regulators announced Friday that they are investigating Johnson & Johnson’s shot for links to unusual blood clotting after four blood-clot cases, including one death, were reported among vaccine recipients.

The timing of these developments was unfortunate, experts said, but there’s no reason to doubt the shot’s safety yet.

“You don’t want to be fueling unnecessary worries about the safety of vaccines when you’re still seeing an enormous outbreak and death rates all over the world from COVID,” Art Caplan, a bioethicist at New York University, told Insider.

He added that the side effects observed at the US vaccination sites were “absolutely trivial.”

Although symptoms like nausea and fainting aren’t common responses to coronavirus vaccines, they aren’t abnormal, either.

“When you see these clusters [of side effects], they usually are worked out and have no relation to the vaccine,” Arnold Monto, an epidemiologist at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health, told Insider. Monto chairs the Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccine Advisory Committee, which voted to recommend the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson shots.

People could get dizzy or nauseous for many reasons

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Kristine Ko, right, waits in line for her vaccine at the Cal State LA walk-up mass vaccine site in Los Angeles on April 8.

Most of the negative reactions to Johnson & Johnson’s shot occurred within 15 minutes after a person got vaccinated, public-health officials in Colorado, Georgia, and North Carolina reported. In total between the three states, seven people were taken to hospitals for observation. As of Friday, all but one had been released and everyone was expected to fully recover.

Officials haven’t yet pinpointed why these clusters of adverse reactions were identified in such a short time frame. But they’ve emphasized that there’s no reason to be concerned about the shot itself.

In a news release, Georgia’s public health commissioner, Kathleen Toomey, said the state was looking into “what may have caused the reactions, including the conditions at the fairgrounds such as heat and the ability to keep the site cool.”

Caplan said it’s also possible that the people who felt dizzy or nauseous were elderly or had underlying health conditions that may have predisposed them to adverse reactions. And once one site reports a cluster of patient reactions, that makes others more likely to look for them and take swift action.

Whatever the reason, Monto said, the fact that adverse reactions are being reported and investigated shows that local officials are working hard to minimize harm.

“Any pause in vaccination shows that the system is working because we’re not trying to sweep anything under the rug,” he said.

In a statement, Johnson & Johnson told Insider that it takes all adverse reactions seriously. The company said it would “carefully assess the events” and share any findings with the FDA.

“There is no greater priority than the safety and well-being of the people we serve,” the statement said.

The link between J&J’s shot and blood clots remains tenuous

johnson & johnson vaccine
A vial of Johnson & Johnson’s shot.

Just four blood-clot cases have been identified among people who’ve gotten Johnson & Johnson’s shot so far. In one of those cases, a participant in the company’s clinical trial died of a clotting disorder.

The other three blood-clot cases occurred during J&J’s US rollout, which has administered nearly 5.4 million doses of its vaccine. That’s fewer than one clot case per 1 million shots.

Experts aren’t convinced there’s a cause-and-effect relationship at all, though.

“It isn’t really clear how many people get blood clots anyway,” Caplan said. ‘That makes it hard to know whether it’s connected to vaccination.”

The European Union’s health regulator, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), announced its investigation after receiving information about the blood-clot cases from the FDA, Bloomberg reported. The EU authorized Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine in March and is scheduled to roll out the shot later this month.

The agency said it wasn’t sure what relationship, if any, existed between the vaccine and blood clots.

Earlier this week, the EMA announced that potentially fatal blood clots might be a rare side effect of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which has been authorized in more than 110 countries but not yet in the US. Both that shot and Johnson & Johnson’s are viral-vector vaccines, which introduce a coronavirus gene into the body using a genetically engineered common-cold virus. Scientists don’t know whether the platform itself could be linked to clotting.

Still, any risk of clots should be weighed against the risk of getting COVID-19, Caplan said.

“If I live in Brazil and I’m still seeing 3,000 deaths a day, and somebody said to me, ‘We’re going to pull AstraZeneca vaccine out of here because we found somebody who died of a blood clot that might be related to the vaccine,’ I’d say, ‘You better recalculate your risk-benefit ratio,'” he said.

The bigger problem is a lack of supply

For now, the most pressing issue with Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine isn’t any safety concern – it’s the lack of consistent supply.

Johnson & Johnson promised to ship 24 million doses in US this month, but it’s unclear if the company will meet that goal, given the recent manufacturing issues, which occurred at a plant run by Emergent Biosolutions, a US government contractor.

Quality-control managers must first test 62 million doses to see if they can be salvaged, and the FDA must also certify that the Maryland plant can release more doses to the public.

Jeff Zients, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, said at a Friday briefing that Johnson & Johnson “expects a relatively low level of weekly dose delivery” until the FDA signs off on the plant.

The total number of Johnson & Johnson shots allocated to states and other jurisdictions is expected to drop around 85% next week, to around 1.5 million doses. But that decrease follows an unprecedented surge of roughly 11 million doses last week.

Johnson & Johnson has said it’s still on track to provide close to 100 million doses by the end of May.

Allison DeAngelis contributed reporting.

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The COVID-19 vaccine side effects you can expect based on your age, sex, and dose

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Alameda County workers line up to receive coronavirus vaccines outside St. Rose Hospital in Hayward, California, on January 8, 2021.

  • COVID-19 vaccine side effects can vary depending on a person’s age, sex, or health status.
  • Women and younger adults tend to have more side effects than men or older adults do.
  • Side effects are generally more pronounced after the second dose than the first.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

When Freedom Baird got her first dose of Moderna’s vaccine in February, she wasn’t sure what kind of side effects to anticipate.

Baird is a COVID-19 long-hauler – she’s had lingering shortness of breath and chest pain for roughly a year. Many people who’ve had a prior infection develop more side effects in response to the first vaccine dose than the second. An average person, meanwhile, typically feels more run-down after their second shot.

Baird’s age complicated her expectations: She’s 56, and clinical trials have shown that people over 55 often develop fewer vaccine side effects. As it turns out, she didn’t feel much.

“It was really just that first day of feeling achy and flu-y,” Baird told Insider.

While doctors can’t predict exactly how someone will respond to a coronavirus vaccine, they’ve identified a few patterns based on a person’s age, sex, health status, and which dose they’re receiving. Clinical trials suggest that side effects are generally more pronounced among women and younger adults, especially after their second dose.

Dose two usually comes with more severe side effects

COVID Vaccine
A vaccine vial.

The most common side effect for all three authorized US vaccines is pain or swelling at the injection site: Nearly 92% of participants in Moderna’s clinical trial developed this side effect. in Pfizer’s trial, 84% of participants reported that, as did 49% in Johnson & Johnson’s.

Other common side effects include fatigue, headache, and body or muscle aches. Around 65% of vaccine recipients in Pfizer’s and Moderna’s trials, and 38% in Johnson & Johnson’s, developed fatigue.

For those who haven’t had COVID-19 before, side effects tend to be more numerous and severe after the second dose.

Roughly twice as many participants in Pfizer’s trial developed chills and joint pain after their second dose than after their first. In Moderna’s trial, meanwhile, around five times as many participants developed chills after their second dose than their first. Fevers were also far more common among second-dose recipients than first-dose recipients in both trials.

People who’ve had COVID-19 may develop more side effects after dose 1

A small study from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai found that vaccine side effects such as fatigue, headaches, and chills were more common among people with pre-existing immunity to the coronavirus than people who’d never been infected before. Around 73% of vaccine recipients who’d previously had COVID-19 developed side effects after dose one of Pfizer’s or Moderna’s shot, compared to 66% of vaccine recipients who’d never gotten infected before.

“If you’ve already had a COVID-19 infection, you’ve developed memory cells from that infection,” Dr. Vivek Cherian, a Baltimore-based internal medicine physician, told Insider.

“If you were ever to be exposed to the infection again, your body would basically be able to respond quickly and more robustly that second time around,” he added. “That’s why you tend to have more strong side effects from that initial vaccine.”

Younger adults may feel more run-down after their shots than older people

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A woman receives a COVID-19 vaccine in Wales.

Our immune systems gradually deteriorate as we age, which means older people’s bodies don’t work as hard to defend them against foreign invaders – including the protein introduced to the body via a vaccine.

“Younger individuals have a much more vigorous immune response, so it should make sense that they would also have more side effects,” Cherian said.

After one dose of Moderna’s shot, 57% of people younger than 65 developed side effects, compared to 48% of those older than 65. After the second dose, nearly 82% of people in the younger group developed side effects, compared to nearly 72% of older adults.

Pfizer broke down its data slightly differently: Around 47% of people ages 18 to 55 developed fatigue after dose one, whereas 34% of people ages 56 and older reported that side effect. After dose two, the numbers rose to 59% and 51%, respectively.

After Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine, nearly 62% of people ages 18 to 59 developed side effects, compared to 45% of people ages 60 and up.

Women can expect more side effects in general

coronavirus vaccine recipient
A woman receives a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed Americans’ reactions to nearly 14 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna shots from December to January. The results showed that roughly 79% of instances of vaccine side effects reported to the CDC came from women, though just 61% of doses were administered to women overall.

Cherian said women tend to react more strongly to vaccines for polio, influenza, measles, and mumps as well.

“All of these vaccines in general, women tend to have greater side effects,” he said. “They’re even more pronounced for a pre-menopausal woman compared to a post-menopausal woman.”

Scientists suspect the difference has to do with estrogen levels.

“Testosterone tends to be an immune-suppressive hormone and estrogen tends to be an immune stimulant,” Cherian said. “So more than likely it’s the estrogen hormone – that’s why females tend to have more side effects.”

Most high-risk medical conditions won’t lead to stronger side effects

covid vaccine elderly
CVS pharmacist Gina Glancy gives the second dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to Bob Jensen, 89, in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

People with weakened immune systems don’t mount a strong defense against viral infections in general, so they’re particularly vulnerable to severe COVID-19. For that reason, the CDC recommends that these groups get vaccinated right away.

But it’s possible that immunocompromised people, such as cancer patients, won’t mount a strong immune response to the vaccine, either.

“Your immune response essentially dictates your side effects, so if you’re immunocompromised, you may not necessarily be having as many side effects, but you should still absolutely get vaccinated,” Cherian said.

The vaccines should provide immunocompromised people with at least some protection against severe COVID-19, even if they don’t feel any side effects – though the effectiveness may be lower than for the average person.

Cherian said that for people with autoimmune conditions, meanwhile, the side effects probably won’t be any worse than for the average person.

“If you have those high risk factors, you really, really want to get vaccinated,” he said. “Dealing with a few side effects of some diarrhea or some muscle aches is a much, much better thing than some of those serious, potentially life-threatening side effects of the COVID-19 infection.”

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5 people share their Johnson & Johnson vaccine side effects, from sore arms to chills

Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine clinical trial, volunteer dosed with experimental COVID-19 vaccine
A clinical trial volunteer participates in Johnson & Johnson’s study to test a coronavirus vaccine.

  • All of the COVID-19 vaccines come with the possibility of side effects.
  • Fewer Johnson & Johnson recipients had reactions compared to people in other vaccine trials.
  • Still, Insider spoke with 5 people who had arm pain, chills, or headaches after the J&J shot.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Chloe Kathuria, an 18-year-old college student, wrapped herself in a dozen blankets the night she got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“I was freezing,” Kathuria told Insider. “For hours I couldn’t stop moving because I was shaking and that was uncomfortable because all my muscles were hurting.”

Kathuria is one of five J&J vaccine recipients who told Insider they experienced side effects after getting the jab. Others have reported unpleasant reactions to the Moderna and Pfizer shots, so no vaccine is without its drawbacks.

Although no one wants to get a fever and chills, experts say these side effects are nothing to be concerned about. Most reactions will go away within a couple of days, and they’re proof that your immune system is doing its job.

If you want to plan ahead, you should prepare to take it easy for a day or two after you get your shot. Kathuria had to skip class the day after her shot, and other recipients said they called in sick from work and other obligations, before returning later in the week.

It’s normal to experience some side effects after a vaccine

Side effects including arm pain, headaches, and fatigue are common post-vaccine. All are signs that your immune system is learning to recognize and respond to the coronavirus, Akiko Iwasaki, who researches viruses at Yale, previously told Insider’s Hilary Brueck.

“When these things are being taken up into a cell, they really trigger sensors that are there to detect viruses,” Iwasaki said. “So you might feel sore in the arm, a little fever. These are usual responses to this sort of innate immune activation.”

Kathuria felt all of the most commonly reported vaccine side effects, and then some: arm pain, dizziness, bad chills, headache, loss of appetite, muscle aches, and fever. Her fever lasted two days, and her arm pain and muscle aches lasted a week.

woman gets johnson & johnson vaccine
A woman receives a Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine from registered nurse Gina Reed at a vaccination center established at the Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport Hotel in Chicago, Illinois, on March 5, 2021.

But not everyone experiences a slew of side effects. In trials of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, less than 50% of people reported arm pain after their injections, which is notably lower than 91% of Moderna vaccine recipients with achy arms. An even smaller portion – roughly 38% – of J&J recipients reported headaches and fatigue.

Laura Mclean, 57, didn’t feel any pain in her arm post-injection. However, her side effects started in the middle of the night, when she woke up with chills and a headache. She said she still had chills in the morning and left a volunteer shift early, but fully recovered by dinnertime.

Some people waited for the J&J vaccine in hopes of avoiding side effects

Linda Davis, 73, was eligible to take the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines early on, but she waited until the J&J approval to get vaccinated.

Davis has an autoimmune disease called fibromyalgia, and the medications she’s taken to treat it haven’t sat well.

“It was like somebody took a baseball bat, wound up as hard as they couldn’t hit me in the stomach,” she said of previous reactions.

She feared the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines would cause a severe reaction after reading that other people experienced nasty side effects. In comparison, J&J’s trial participants reported fewer serious reactions.

johnson johnson covid-19 vaccine
Participants in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine trial reported fewer side effects compared to those who got the Moderna and Pfizer shots.

Davis said she “moved heaven and earth” to find a provider who had the J&J vaccine, which meant spending hours on the phone and online. When she finally found the shot, she experienced some arm pain for two to three days after the injection, but no serious side effects.

Pat Wyman also waited for the J&J vaccine because she’s allergic to PEG, an ingredient in both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine. Following her doctor’s recommendations, she found a pharmacy with the J&J vaccine and got vaccinated.

After vaccination, Wyman had a high fever, chills, and a headache that lasted up to five days.

“I would do it again in a heartbeat because it is so important for me to feel safer in general,” Wyman previously told Insider.

The side effects were worth getting vaccinated

All of the J&J recipients who spoke with Insider said the temporary side effects were worth the promised return to normalcy.

Christian Mendonca felt tired, cold, and ran a fever 12 hours after his J&J vaccine. Three days after his shot, Mendonca still can’t comfortably raise his vaccinated arm above his shoulder – but he said getting the vaccine was worth it.

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Cristi Hunkler, a retired school teacher receives the vaccine on the first day of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine being made available to residents of Athens, Ohio.

“My wife and I are actually also trying to get pregnant, so just having that one weight off our shoulders before we try to welcome a child into the world is a huge benefit,” Mendonca told Insider.

Once Davis is fully immune to COVID-19, she plans to “scoop my grandchildren up and hold them close.”

Even Kathuria, whose muscle aches and arm pain lasted a week, said the side effects were worth getting vaccinated.

“Two days of a fever is better than having the coronavirus and being hospitalized.”

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