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Study: COVID-19 symptoms may be mistaken for vaccine side effects

A new study suggests feeling COVID-19 symptoms might actually be COVID-19 and not side effects of the vaccine

Kai Palmer gets tested for COVID-19.
Kai Palmer gets tested for COVID-19 outside of the Maverik Center in West Valley City on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. A new study suggests feeling COVID-19 symptoms might actually be COVID-19 and not side effects of the vaccine.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

A new study suggests that people might mistake coronavirus symptoms for side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The study — published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention journal Emerging Infectious Diseases — found 22 health care workers in Israel were confirmed to have COVID-19 from one to 10 days after receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

  • The researchers said the Pfizer vaccine “is not likely to exert protection against clinical disease during the first days after receipt of the first dose.”
  • This does not mean the vaccine doesn’t protect you. The vaccine needs time to develop antibodies and protection against the virus. People can still be infected after the first dose of the vaccine, which is only 50% to 55% effective, according to the Deseret News.
  • The researchers said anyone who sees coronavirus symptoms after getting the vaccine should get a COVID-19 test to identify a potential positive case.

Specifics

The researchers reviewed more than 4,000 staff members who received the vaccine. Just 22 of those people tested positive for COVID-19.

  • Of those, 13 were tested because they had COVID-19 symptoms, including fever, chills, cough, headache and sore throat, according to Israel 21C, a news site in Israel, where the study took place. Two of the people tested positive because of exposure to someone who had symptoms. The rest were asymptomatic.

The researchers warned people that getting the first dose of the vaccine doesn’t mean you’re totally safe from getting COVID-19. Instead, people should remain vigilant agains the virus.

  • “Pandemic fatigue, coupled with the availability of a vaccine, might give the population a false sense of reassurance and consequently lead to a brisk increase in COVID-19 cases,” the authors said.

University of Utah Health Division of Infectious Diseases associate professor Dr. Emily Spivak similarly told the Deseret News that people should remain cautious after getting their first dose of the vaccine.

  • “The whole point of the second dose is to boost the sort of the amount of antibody and the amount of immunity that you have and hopefully the length. We just don’t even know how long the protection is after two doses,” Spivak said.

However

Dr. Amanda Cohn, a member of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told Fox News that people might have mild reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine, including potential fatigue and a low-grade fever.