Headaches, fatigue among most common vaccine side effects, latest CDC report finds

Headache, fatigue and dizziness were the most commonly reported side effects after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the CDC's Feb. 19 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 

Researchers analyzed safety data from Dec. 14 and Jan. 13. During that period, first and second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine were administered, and first shots of the Moderna vaccine were given. The CDC used data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, an existing national system used for reporting adverse vaccination events and v-safe, a text message system the agency created to monitor COVID-19 safety. 

Among more than 13.9 million doses administered during the first month of the nation's COVID-19 vaccination program, 6,994 adverse events were reported to VAERS. Of those, 6,354 or 90.8 percent were considered nonserious, while 640 or 9.2 percent were serious. Women accounted for nearly 78 percent of adverse event reports. There were 62 confirmed cases of anaphylaxis. The most commonly reported side effects were headache, fatigue and dizziness, followed by chills and nausea. 

Data from v-safe showed reactions were more frequent after the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine than the first, with the reported rate of fever and chills more than four times higher after the second shot. 

A total of 113 deaths were reported during the analysis period, including 78 that occurred among long-term care facility residents.

"Counseling vaccine recipients to expect transient local and systemic reactions might ease concerns and encourage competition of the 2-dose vaccination series," the CDC said.

To view the full report, click here

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