Once COVID vaccines were finally available after months of awaiting their arrival, they became one of the hottest topics of conversation. When you find out someone has gotten vaccinated, your first question is often, “Which vaccine did you get?” And then the follow-up is frequently, “Did you have any side effects?” Public health experts, doctors, and the press spent so much time assuring people that side effects are normal responses that mean the COVID vaccine is working that those who didn’t have any side effects started to wonder if that meant theirs didn’t work. While it may feel like most people experienced side effects after getting the vaccine, a new survey shows that’s not the case.
The most recent Economist/YouGov poll, published on June 22, found that 75 percent of people in the U.S. experienced no side effects after receiving the COVID vaccine. whether or not you have side effects following vaccination is dependent on a handful of things, including your age, which shot you received, if you had COVID before, and other unknown variables.
over the age of 65 were least likely.
It was previously reported that about half of people didn’t have vaccine side effects in the clinical trials, but it appears in the real world, the fraction is even larger. “When you actually look at the statistics from the trials, most people didn’t have side effects,” Thaddeus Stappenbeck, MD, Chairman of the Department of Inflammation and Immunity at Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute, explained on the Cleveland Clinic website. “A little over 50 percent didn’t experience any side effects at all.”
The CDC reports that common side effects of the COVID vaccines include fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea, as well as pain, redness, and swelling at the site of the injection. While some may find it a relief to not feel uncomfortable after their COVID vaccination, others worry that the absence of side effects means the vaccine isn’t doing its job.
However, experts say that isn’t necessarily the case. “If you get this vaccine and you don’t experience any side effects, it doesn’t mean that it’s not initiating a strong immune response,” Wendell Hoffman, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Sanford Health, said in an article for the health care company’s website.
Other professionals have echoed that notion. “People respond differently to vaccines. Some experience side effects—this is normal and is a sign that the body is generating an immune response that will help to fight COVID-19 if exposed in the future,” Leana Wen, MD, a practicing physician and op-ed columnist for The Washington Post, wrote for the paper. “Some others don’t have side effects. That’s normal too, and there’s no reason to believe that the vaccine is less effective for them.”