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New COVID-19 symptom? Not really. Here’s what you need to know about ‘COVID arm’

Multiple people who receive the COVID-19 vaccine have reported a symptom called ‘COVID arm’

A woman presses a pad onto her upper arm after receiving a dose of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination and testing site in Brussels, Tuesday. Feb. 9, 2021.
A woman presses a pad onto her upper arm after receiving a dose of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination and testing site in Brussels on Tuesday. Feb. 9, 2021. Multiple people across the country have reported a rash on their arms after getting the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, according to CBS Minnesota.
Virginia Mayo, Associated Press

Multiple people across the country have reported a rash on their arms after getting the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, according to CBS Minnesota. And that symptom has now been called “COVID arm.”

What’s going on?

People across the country have reported seeing red lesions on their arms after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna, according to Health.com. The rash appears near the injection spot of the arm.

  • “I’ve had lots of people call me about the site of the injection, and sometimes it extends pretty far up and down the arm as well,” Dr. John Swartzberg, an expert on infectious disease at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health, told KOMO News.

Experts have said this is actually “delayed cutaneous hypersensitivity,” according to Health.com, which means the skin is experiencing a delayed reaction to the injection.

  • Dr. Debra Jaliman, who works as a dermatologist in New York City, told Health: “It seems to be an allergic reaction — a skin reaction that occurs after getting an injection. We see firmness and redness at the site where the injection occurred.”

Should you worry?

This “COVID arm” isn’t anything new when it comes to vaccines, Dr. George Morris told CBS Minnesota.

  • “We’ve seen reactions like this even with other vaccines,” he said. “We know, when you get a flu vaccine, many people will have a local reaction in their arm. Tetanus vaccines. Shingles vaccines.”
  • Morris told CBS News that the reaction has happened in less than 10% of patients. The rash will eventually disappear.

One more note:

Reports suggest the “COVID arm” shows up somewhere between five and nine days after the injection.