Local health expert explains potential COVID-19 vaccine side effects, why it’s still worth taking


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — As the COVID-19 vaccine distribution prepares to get underway, local health experts are reminding the community of the reported side effects that are similar to symptoms of the virus and to not concern about them nor let your guard down.

KTSM took to social media to ask whether or not El Pasoans would take the vaccine with chances of feeling similar COVID symptoms. Majority voted yes, while others voted no or are still undecided.

“The most severe side effect that has been reported was fatigue. So patients were tired, and if you recall, many of these patients who got COVID, they had fatigue,” Dr. Armando Meza, Chief of Infectious Diseases with Texas Tech University Health Science Center told KTSM.

Meza said the CDC and Association of Immunization Practices are anticipating some side effects will occur with the vaccine. However, there will be a guideline on how to manage side effects when the vaccine releases.

“So what you really need to keep in mind is once you get the vaccine, the side effects can be managed with medication, local measures on the injection side, and many people have compared this vaccine with other vaccines that have the same side effects,” Meza said.

According to Meza, the first dose tends to give the most side effects but once the immune system is more stable, the second dose is not as bad, “The good thing about it is that no one have had severe side effects, and they tend to be very short at a time. So they will go away in a couple of days.”

While majority on social media said they will be taking it, others said no or “not until a few million doses have been safely administered without serious side effects.”

“People should not get very concerned because this is not going to be something that is going to make you unable to work and all that. Maybe for a few days, but nothing more than what we have seen now which is a lot worse,” Meza shared.

Once the vaccine is more readily available, El Paso City/County Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza said El Pasoans still need to keep their guard up.

Dr. Ocaranza sent KTSM this statement:

“We would like to remind the community that once the vaccine is approved it will come in small allocations, as it becomes available to the state. We will administer the vaccine in priority groups, and as the vaccine is more readily available it will continue to allow for more groups until it is open to the population at large. This process will take months and in the meantime, we will continue educating our community through different communication modalities about the importance of wearing masks, continue observing distancing and protecting each other. Life will need to be a new normal otherwise we will see large surges of cases and hospitalizations. We hope to see a significant decrease in hospitalizations due to COVID-19 vaccine, once we are able to effectively immunize as many people at risk.

Restrictions to gatherings and the importance of healthy behavior will continue. Messages and other targeted media campaigns will continue focusing on behavior change and how we can care for each other or keep each other healthy.”

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