Transparency about COVID-19 vaccines' side effects needed, physicians say

Drugmakers and public health officials should educate the public about the brief but potentially unpleasant immune responses that COVID-19 vaccines can cause, physicians told CDC advisors during a Nov. 23 virtual meeting.

As states prepare to distribute COVID-19 vaccine doses in anticipation of an imminent FDA approval, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices held a meeting seeking counsel from non-governmental medical experts. Sandra Fryhofer, MD, representing the American Medical Association, told the committee most vaccine candidates require two doses, and she is worried some patients won't want to return for their second shot after experiencing unpleasant side effects from the first, CNBC reported

Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca have released interim trial analyses revealing their vaccine candidates to be effective in preventing COVID-19. Trial participants for both Moderna and Pfizer trials told CNBC that the vaccines caused aches, exhaustion and other side effects, but acknowledged that the symptoms usually didn't last longer than a day and were preferable to contracting COVID-19.

Both companies have publicly recognized that their vaccines could cause side effects similar to mild COVID-19 symptoms, such as chills, aches and muscle pain. 

"We really need to make patients aware that this is not going to be a walk in the park," Dr. Fryhofer said during the meeting with ACIP. "They are going to know they had a vaccine. They are probably not going to feel wonderful. But they’ve got to come back for that second dose."


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