As long as my marriage lasts, my family will be divided by reactions to vaccinations.
I, fortunately, talk about physical Reactions, not ideology. My partner and I are photography enthusiasts, a fact that we verified on our first date. But if my immune system is a shy flower, seldom causing more than arm pain in the hours after getting vaccinated, my husband is the party animal. Every immunization I saw — including four doses of the COVID-19 vaccine — left him with fever, chills, fatigue, and headache for about an entire day. When he got his flu shot and a bivalent COVID shot together a few weeks ago, he ended up spending his first day on the job in over a decade. As usual, The same injection caused me very few symptoms I wondered if I was really dead inside.
“Why don’t you feel? anything? ‘ My husband howled at me from the bedroom, his sweat permeating the sheets. ‘Sorry,’ I cried back from the kitchen, as I was preparing meals for four days between work calls after returning from eight miles away.
If this is how every fall goes from now on, so be it: A few hours of discomfort is still worth a boost in the defenses that vaccines provide against serious disease and death. But it’s not hard to see that the thorny side effects will only add to the many other factors working against uptake of the COVID vaccine, including lack of awareness, sloppy messaging, diminished reach, and sporadic community communication. Back in the spring, when you Talk to multiple people who did not receive the reinforcements despite being eligible for several months, many cited discomfort after filming as the reason. Now I’m getting texts and calls from family members and friends – all up to date on their previous COVID vaccinations – acknowledging that they were doing everything they could to avoid these symptoms, too. “I don’t know if we would continue to have strong public support if they had that kind of reaction every year,” says Cindy Leifer, an immunologist at Cornell University.
The good news, at least, is that experts tell me they don’t expect this bivalent prescription — or future fall COVID shots — to be worse, in terms of side effects, than those we’ve received before.. It will take some time for the data to confirm this, especially considering that more than a month after this fall’s rollout, Less than 15 million Americans They got the updated shot. But Kathleen Nozel, a vaccine specialist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine has Lesson The performance Of the COVID vaccines in clinical trials, Lee explained that the components of the mRNA shots were replaced before without changing the rate of side effects. When an alphabet soup of variants began to sweep the world in early 2021, she tells me, vaccine makers began fiddling with alternative formulations, sometimes Combine multiple versions of Spike Protein in one shot– “They are all comparable.” (If anything, early data suggests that bivalent shots with variable height Omicron might be easier to take same he goes Influenza vaccines, which are also retrofitted every year: when measured in the population, the frequency and severity of side effects remains more or less the same.
On average, then, people who have undergone mRNA testing will likely expect to have an annual experience very similar to the one they had with their first COVID booster. As studies have shown, that was Actually better For most people from Dosage No. 2, the most unpleasant injection yet. (Of course, the math gets a lot tougher for people who get another vaccine, like the flu shot, at the same time.) There are probably two main reasons for reducing side effects overall, experts tell me. First, the spacing: Most people received the second dose in the initial Pfizer or Moderna series just three or four weeks after the first. This is an effective way to attract a lot of people.”fully vaccinated“In a short amount of time, but this means that many of the immune system’s defense cells and molecules will remain on high alert. The second shot can end up fueling a fire of inflammation that is not completely quenched. In line with this, the researchers found that spacing Outside Initial series doses of up to eight weeks, 12 weeks, or even longer can reduce some side effects.
Dosage is also of great importance: vaccines are, in a way, stimuli meant to prompt the immune system to respond; Larger servings should cause greater vibrations. When vaccine makers were adjusting their prescriptions in early trials, higher doses — including those deemed too large for further testing — led to more side effects. each injection in Moderna The primary strand contains more than three times the mRNA bundles in Pfizerand Moderna, on average, caused more capacitor Side effects. But Moderna booster and bivalent doses contain a smaller scoop From the trigger: people 12 and older get, for example, 50 mcg instead of 100 mcg in each initial dose; 6-11 year olds get 25 mcg instead of 50 mcg doses Stay the same size across primaries and boosters, as long as people stay the same age.) People who switch brands may also notice a difference in symptoms.
It’s a difficult balance, though. Sometimes the immune system adjusts its scale of protection to match the risk posed by a pathogen (or vaccine), such as calibrating the crisis response to the severity of the threat—so it is important that vaccine makers do not fail to hit the target. For better or worse, the mRNA-based COVID vaccines appear to cause a stronger response than most other vaccines, including the annual flu shots. One of the offending components may be mRNA, which encodes the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. But Michela Lucci, an immunologist at the University of Pennsylvania, told me that the packaging of the mRNA — a lipid bubble called lipid nanoparticles — might be the most likely cause. For some people, however, doses of COVID side effects may be on par with those of the dual-dose Shingrix vaccine, One of the most infamous interactive fortifications on our list. Leifer, who received both, told me the second dose of each “floor” of hers was about the same.
The fact that I have fewer side effects than my wife does not mean that I am less protected. a Tons of factorsGenetics, hormone levels, age, diet, sleep, stress, pain tolerance, and more can affect how a person gets the injection. Women They tend to have more reactive bodies, as they do younger people. But there are exceptions to these trends: I am one of them. Locci told me the whole topic was understood. Her recent private experience with bivalents pushed her into a loop. After her first, second, and third doses of Moderna increased the severity of the side effects, she cleared her calendar for two days after the bivalent, “afraid of being in bed with a fever again,” she said, “but it was a slight headache in the morning, and then it was over.” ” She has no idea what he will bring next year.
In either case, side effects such as fever and chills tend to be short-lived. “Very few side effects are severe, and COVID remains a serious disease,” Neuzil told me. However, Grace Lee, a pediatrician at Stanford University and chair of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Immunization Practices Advisory Committee, hopes that scientists will continue to develop new coronavirus vaccines, which may come with fewer post-shot issues — including Those that are very rare, like Myocarditis– Without sacrificing immune protection. Lee doesn’t tend to react much to vaccinations, but her daughter “always misses school the next day,” she tells me. “I plan her shots on Friday afternoon so she can lie down all day Saturday.” Early on, when no one had immunity to the virus, signing everyone up for somewhat reactive shots was a no-brainer — especially given the hope that two doses would provide many years of protection. Now that we know it’s a frequent need, Neuzil said, “the equation changes a bit.”
People are not completely helpless with side effects. Dipta Bhattacharya, an immunologist at the University of Arizona, had a “horrible, horrible” experience with his second and third doses, which gave him a fever of 102 and 103 degrees, respectively. He survived the side effects without intervention, worried that the analgesics would not only suppress the pain, but also his protective immune response. This time, however, armed with new knowledge from his own lab Anti-inflammatory drugs and analgesics do not lower antibody levels“The first sign I’m feeling even the slightest thing,” he told me, “I’m taking a big dose.”
I’ll probably do the same with my wife the next time she’s up for a vaccination of any kind…most likely while I’m quiet on the sidelines. Bhattacharya’s wife, too, is kind of an immune introvert, a fact he laments. “Its only side effect was that she was thirsty,” he said. “this is not fair.”