Expert addresses concerns over COVID vaccination side effects, encourages community to get immunized

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — As many report concerns over COVID-19 vaccination side effects, 8 News Now spoke to a medical expert to break down what everyone can expect. 

Ginger Allen is officially immunized against COVID-19. She spoke with 8 News Now Friday after receiving her second dose of the Moderna vaccine. 

“I’m happy to say I had almost no side effects,” Allen said. “I had a little bit of a headache and took some Tylenol.”

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Ginger and Claire Allen

She was nervous leading up to her second shot but said the peace of mind and protection made it all worth it.

UNLV School of Medicine Dean and Vice President of Health Affairs Dr. Marc J. Kahn said Allen is one of many who shared initial fears over vaccine side effects, so it’s important to know why they’re happening. 

“Not only is it a safe vaccine,” Dr. Kahn said. “But it is also a very effective vaccine.”

He told 8 News Now both brands out now use mRNA technology to help our bodies respond to the virus. 

The first shot acts as a primer and the second is an immunity boost, which can lead to more reported reactions. 

“Because of that boost in immune response we have more symptoms,” Dr. Kahn explained. “And the symptoms are really referrable or due to an attacked immune system; so, in many ways the side effects tell us that our immune system is working.”

As for Allen, she believes the reward outweighs the risk. She hopes others will consider what she calls a necessary step to bring back a new sense of normal.

“I feel confident in science and our medical community,” Allen concluded. “If you’re on the fence, do it.”

Dr. Kahn said though side effects can be a sign of an immune response to the vaccine, some people may not see any reaction because everyone’s body will handle the immunization differently. 

A level of reaction does not determine efficacy, according to Dr. Kahn, as he said both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine work extremely well. 

He also spoke about the new, single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, as the FDA is expected to authorize it for emergency use after U.S. advisors endorsed it Friday. 

Dr. Kahn said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be easier to distribute since it is one dose and doesn’t require extra cold storage. 

However, he said it’s important for everyone getting a vaccine to take whichever brand they’re offered so our community can reach herd immunity faster. 

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