Pfizer Vaccine Side Effects Are Worse Than the Virus for Young People

Will leave you with sore arms, muscle aches, and fever that will sideline you from work days -- twice in one month

Feeling totally healthy? Call your doctor now to schedule multiple injections

Pfizer is expected to seek federal permission to release its Covid-19 vaccine by the end of November, a move that holds promise for quelling the pandemic but also sets up a tight time frame to make sure consumers understand what it will mean to get the shots.

The vaccine, and likely most others, will require two doses to work, injections that must be given weeks apart, company protocols show. Scientists anticipate that the shots will cause enervating flu-like side effects — including sore arms, muscle aches and fever — that could last days and temporarily sideline some people from work or school. And even if a vaccine proves 90 percent effective, the rate Pfizer touted for its product, 1 in 10 recipients would still be vulnerable. That means, at least in the short term, as population-level immunity grows, people can’t stop social distancing and throw away their masks.

Left out so far in the push to develop vaccines with unprecedented speed has been a large-scale plan to communicate effectively about those issues in advance, said Saad Omer, director of the Yale Institute for Global Health.

“You need to be ready,” he said. “You can’t look for your communication materials the day after the vaccine is authorized.”

Omer, who declined to comment on reports that he’s being considered for a post in the new administration of President-elect Joe Biden, called for the rollout of a robust messaging campaign based on the best scientific evidence about vaccine hesitancy and acceptance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has created a strategy called “Vaccinate with Confidence,” but it lacks the necessary resources, Omer said.

“We need to communicate, and we need to communicate effectively, and we need to start planning for this now,” he said.

Such broad-based outreach will be necessary in a country where, as of mid-October, only half of Americans said they’d be willing to get a Covid-19 vaccine. Initial doses of any vaccine would be limited at first, but experts predict they may be widely available by the middle of next year. Discussing potential side effects early could counter misinformation that overstates or distorts the risk.

“The biggest tragedy would be if we have a safe and effective vaccine that people are hesitant to get,” said Dr. Preeti Malani, chief health officer and a professor of medicine at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Pfizer and its partner, the German company BioNTech, said Monday that their vaccine appears to protect 9 in 10 people from getting Covid-19, although they didn’t release underlying data. It’s the first of four Covid-19 vaccines in large-scale efficacy tests in the U.S. to have posted results.

Data from early trials of several Covid-19 vaccines suggest that consumers will need to be prepared for side effects that, while technically mild, could disrupt daily life. A senior Pfizer executive told the news outlet Stat that side effects from the company’s vaccine appear to be comparable to those of standard adult vaccines but worse than those of the company’s pneumonia vaccine, Prevnar, or typical flu shots.

The two-dose Shingrix vaccine, for instance, which protects older adults against the virus that causes painful shingles, results in sore arms in 78 percent of recipients and muscle pain and fatigue in more than 40 percent of those who take it. Prevnar and common flu shots can cause injection-site pain, aches and fever.

“We are asking people to take a vaccine that is going to hurt,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and health policy at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “There are lots of sore arms and substantial numbers of people who feel crummy, with headaches and muscle pain, for a day or two.”

Persuading people who experience those symptoms to return in three to four weeks for a second dose — and a second round of flu-like symptoms — could be a tough sell, Schaffner said.

How public health experts explain such effects is important, Omer said. “There’s evidence that suggests that if you frame pain as a proxy of effectiveness, it’s helpful,” he said. “If it’s hurting a little, it’s working.”

At the same time, good communication will help consumers plan for such effects. A Covid-19 vaccine is expected to be distributed first to health care staffers and other essential workers, who may not be able to work if they feel sick, said Dr. Eli Perencevich, a professor of internal medicine and epidemiology at University of Iowa Health Care.

“A lot of folks don’t have sick leave. A lot of our essential workers don’t have health insurance,” he said, suggesting that essential workers should be granted three days of paid leave after they’re vaccinated. “These are the things a well-functioning government should provide for to get our economy going again.”

Making sure consumers know that a vaccine is likely to require two doses — and that it could take a month for full effectiveness to kick in — is also crucial. The Pfizer phase 3 trial, which has enrolled nearly 44,000 people, started in late July. Participants received a second dose 21 days after the first. The reported 90 percent efficacy was measured seven days after the second dose.

Communicating effectively will be vital to ensuring that consumers follow through with the shots and — assuming several vaccines are approved — that their first and second doses are from the same maker. Until full protection kicks in, Omer said, people should continue to take measures to protect themselves: wearing masks, washing hands, socially distancing. It’s important to let people know that taking appropriate action now will pay off later.

“If we just show them the tunnel, not the light, then that results in this mass denial,” he said. “We need to say, ‘You’ll have to continue to do this in the medium term, but the long term looks good.'”

The best communication can occur once full data from the Pfizer trial and others are presented, said Dr. Paul Offit, a vaccinologist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who sits on the Food and Drug Administration’s advisory board considering Covid-19 vaccines.

“When you look at those data, you can more accurately define what groups of people are most likely to have side effects, what the efficacy is, what we know about how long the efficacy lasts, what we know about how long the safety data have been tested,” he said. “I think you have to get ready to communicate that. You can start getting ready now.”

Source: NBC News

  1. rationalobservations? says

    No matter how many to times the science is explained and the lie that the current vaccines are/were “rushed through” is dismissed by the fact that Covid is a SARS virus that has been studied for years and is well known and the novel SARS-COV2 virus that is responsible for CoVid-19 diseases was DNA sequenced and uniquely made public worldwide almost instantly is misunderstood or ignored by the conspiracy theory nuts and lunatic anti-vax morons.

  2. Mike Stevens says

    Oh dear.. the vaccine might make your arm slightly sore for a bit, or give you a mild fever.
    Since you snowflakes think that wearing a mask is tantamount to having an alien facehugger kill you, then no wonder you are so scared of the vaccine you are shi&#8203tting yourselves.
    …Poor little dears.
    Please don’t get vaccinated… that means more for those who deserve it.

  3. itchyvet says

    Quote, ““If it’s hurting a little, it’s working.”Unquote. I get my Flu shots every year, have now for many years, and I have to say, I have never experienced any Pain as quoted above. Does this mean the shots are NOT working ???

  4. Undecider says

    It’s easier to be worse than “the virus” since there’s not much to really measure the virus.

  5. anonymous4u4me says

    I was in the test and my P e N i S fell off, so any of you men out there that were or are thinking this is a cure, you might want to think twice.

    1. itchyvet says

      Did you get compensation ? L.O.L.

  6. sabateur says

    had that with the smallpox vax in 72. sick ever since.

  7. disqus_3BrONUAJno says

    Don’t be an Ian (Haydon).

  8. Bob says

    Don’t you just love this picture of Bil Gates impersonating a physician? Definition of practice medicine (State of Washington):
    A person is practicing medicine if he or she does one or more of the following:
    (1) Offers or undertakes to diagnose, cure, advise, or prescribe for any human disease, ailment, injury, infirmity, deformity, pain or other condition, physical or mental, real or imaginary, by any means or instrumentality;
    (2) Administers or prescribes drugs or medicinal preparations to be used by any other person;
    (3) Severs or penetrates the tissues of human beings;
    (4) Uses on cards, books, papers, signs, or other written or printed means of giving information to the public, in the conduct of any occupation or profession pertaining to the diagnosis or treatment of human disease or conditions the designation “doctor of medicine,” “physician,” “surgeon,” “m.d.,” or any combination thereof unless such designation additionally contains the description of another branch of the healing arts for which a person has a license

    What does the State Medical Board not arrest his ass? They arrest anyone prescribing vitamins or supplements.
    BTW, in addition to severe side effects, the COVIDIOCY vaccine turns you into a genetically modified organism:

  9. disqus_q0fJBDaGHm says

    So you inject something that causes flu like symptoms to protect yourself from catching something that causes flu like symptoms? And when you get those flu like symptoms, while protecting yourself from getting flu like symptoms, that means it is working!

    This calls for a Nobel Prize!

    1. sabateur says

      like the flushot! count yourself lucky not to end with autoimmunity, or dead.

      1. rat doctor says

        Ridiculous statement.

    2. itchyvet says

      My thoughts exactly. So what’s the point exactly of the injection in the first place, other than to make certain people filthy rich, as if they are not already rich enough ?

    3. disqus_3BrONUAJno says

      It will probably earn one for a similar reason to why Obama won one.

    4. Awareness says


    5. Saint Jimmy (Russian American) says

      That about sums it up. One key word in your post is “something”. They can’t even identify what is causing the mild, horrible sniffles. However, Americans will fight each other like it’s Black Friday at fuckin’ WalMart to get injected with this unknown shit because they are mostly brainwashed conformist morons.

      In America, you don’t take vaccine. Vaccine takes you.

      ~ Saint Jimmy the fuckin’ comedian

      1. The Viking. says

        Correction, Jimmy my mate.
        Injected infected.

      2. itchyvet says

        Saint Jimmy, they are most welcome to it too. IMHO, one things for sure, I won’t be taking it, despite being an old fart. L.O.L.

      3. Mensch59 says

        Just curious. Have you spent any time on the blogspot site “Leftist Politics”, discussing things with the idiotic true believers in the Covid psyop, about what “mostly brainwashed conformist morons” they (e.g. SteelPirate, Collectivist, newestbeginning) are?
        I and @cocoluv9491:disqus spent enough time there to get banned.
        I accept such a ban as an honor.

        1. Saint Jimmy (Russian American) says

          They should just re-name that site Steel Pirate and the Putrid Neo-Liberal Gay Boys.

        2. Saint Jimmy (Russian American) says

          They should just re-name that site Steel Pirate and the Putrid Neo-Liberal Fags.

        3. Saint Jimmy (Russian American) says

          They should just re-name that site Steel Pirate and the Putrid Neo-Liberal Fa{g}s.

          There. The parentheses should avoid silly censorship.

        4. Saint Jimmy (Russian American) says

          I agree with you. That would be an honor. I’ve given up attempting to change the opinions of those I know are brainwashed or too limited mentally to change their views or accept new facts. It is mostly a pointless, stress filled endeavor and I don’t need such stress, any longer. That is why I have avoided that site.

          For I know that the hypnotized never lie
          Do ya?

          ~ Pete Townshend

          1. Mensch59 says

            I’ve given up attempting to change the opinions of those I know are brainwashed or too limited mentally to change their views or accept new facts.

            That’s a good strategy imho. Facts generally don’t change minds; friendships can. Ideological tribal identifications play a stronger role in changing minds than do facts. It’s challenging to help a person change his or her tribe or ideology or cult. Heck, this Covidian Cult is dividing families.
            “The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.” ~ Leo Tolstoy from James Clear’s article “Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds”,

            1. Saint Jimmy (Russian American) says

              Almost forgot. Tell Elizabeth Hayes to kiss my mother fucking ass.

            2. Mensch59 says

              E. Hayes hasn’t been posting for over a month or so.

            3. Saint Jimmy (Russian American) says

              Well, when she wakes up, you can tell her. I don’t forget much but I don’t hold grudges very long, except in a few cases.

            4. Elizabeth Hayes says

              Show me your shriveled dick, mofo. That’s disgusting and a horrid thing to say, true, but no more so than your parting shot of “show me your tits,” which, along with the rest of your bullsht, got your sorry ass banned at The Digger, along with your flagrantly racist remarks.

              Somehow you think you’re “different,” and so can say really piggish things. I disagree.

            5. Saint Jimmy (Russian American) says

              Racist my ass. That was all in your imagination, you bitter dried up old hag.

            6. Saint Jimmy (Russian American) says

              I think that’s right. Years … hell, decades ago, I learned that I’m not good at making friends. Despite having the looks {until several years ago when I put on a little weight} and voice for it, I would have been a terrible politician. My family is divided politically and it has been the cause of most arguments in the family during the last 5 to 7 years, or so. My wife, son, and I are all pretty much disillusioned old school leftists to socialists but also do not believe in any of the “liberal” social “causes”. We think they are complete fucking cynical lies. We believe the US is slowly but surely imploding and there is now little anyone can do to stop it. Relax and make the best of it. Legalize marijuana and never, ever take the justice system seriously. US foreign policy is a goddamn horror show that is literally ghetto thug murder.

              My mother, her best friend, and my sister are Trump people – old school republicans. One niece and her husband are also Trump people. He is middle to upper middle class West Texas Hispanic. My youngest niece moved to New York City a few years ago to do God knows what. She comes home but is just kind of checked out and disgusted by most things. I can’t blame her one bit. My oldest niece and her husband are middle class Austin neo-liberal, follow trends yuppies. They aren’t bad people but their political and social opinions are just fucking obnoxious and puzzling to everyone else in the family, as they are both intelligent – he’s an architect – but just fucking brainwashed trend followers. It’s infuriating and we try to avoid them during holidays. I find it hard to talk with them, other than the polite “How’s the weather in Stupidville… I mean Austin?” type conversation. It’s as though they turned into suburban morons. Their USA uber alles flag waving is much worse than what I’ve seen from any Trump supporter.

              So, yeah, you’re right.

            7. itchyvet says

              Jimmy, we live thousands of miles apart, but strangely share exactly the same views and feelings. How about that ? B.T.W. I consider you a friend, even though we’ve never met. I have very little time for idiots and bullshitters, see thru them in a blink, and thus shy away from them. Good riddance, life is far too short wasting it, listening to these fools, and there’s no point in it whatever. There is just one thing to consider though, it’s something I did not ever consider until I was forced into early retirement. That is when one is in the work force, you adjust your personality to conform to the employers liking to make yourself more attractive to keep employed. You hold your tongue and keep opinions to yourself in case your employer gets upset, then after spending a lifetime of this, and suddenly finding yourself retired, slowly you realise you no longer need to keep the front up and finally can be your true self. Boy, what a relief that was. So when talking to your relatives from Stupidville, ( I like that, L.O.L.) give a thought to them that their brains are still imprisoned by their employers and freedom of thought and action is still denied them. Have a good day mate.

            8. carlo151 says

              Austin is the engine of the Texas economy. It creates the jobs that you do not get from oil fracking or ranching.
              NYC is the financial engine of the US economy.

              Is leftist a code word for people who see the racism in the US and believe we are way overdue to addressing the problem?

      4. disqus_3BrONUAJno says

        They would be able to make a normal vaccine if it weren’t for the fact that the virus that causes COVID-19 is “not available” according to the CDC.

        1. Raptar Driver says

          By normal you must mean a vaccine that doesn’t kill you but also is completely ineffective as they all are.

    6. Gizmo007 says

      disqus_q0fJBDaGHm – Your reply was the best laugh I have had all week!

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