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These 3 Groups Get More COVID Vaccine Side Effects, Says New Study

Why women, young people, and people who've had COVID are more often affected.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

As with any vaccination, not everyone who gets one of the COVID-19 vaccines will have side effects. For the vast majority of people who do, they're mild, like soreness in the injection arm or fatigue. Some people have no physical effects at all. But a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that three groups are more likely to report vaccine side effects than others: Women, young people, and people who've already had COVID-19. Read on to find out why. And to ensure your health, remember: Doctors Say "DO NOT" Do This After Your COVID Vaccine.


Women Have More COVID Vaccine Side Effects, Says New Study

Woman in medical face mask getting Covid-19 vaccine at the hospital

According to a CDC study which analyzed the first month of vaccinations, more than 79% of side effects were reported by women, even though women only accounted for 60% of vaccinations given. And the severe reaction anaphylaxis has been reported almost exclusively by women. Why? Experts aren't sure. It could be that women are more likely to report side effects, or that women mount a more aggressive immune response against the coronavirus (which would also explain why more men seem to die of COVID-19). 


Young People Have More COVID Vaccine Side Effects, Says New Study

A woman displays her vaccination card and the

In clinical trials of vaccines, young people reported more side effects than older people. The reason may again be the immune system: Young people have more robust immune systems; stronger responses to invading pathogens, in this case, would manifest as more noticeable side effects.

"We know that the immune system changes as we get older," Dr. Anne Liu, an infectious disease physician in Palo Alto, California, told "We know that people who were younger (who contract the coronavirus) have a more robust production of a group of molecules called interferons which is helpful in fighting the virus, and that may be part of the reason that older people do worse with COVID … The more robust response in young people seems to be a good thing and it correlates with young people getting coronavirus without a severe infection."


People Who've Had COVID-19 Have More COVID Vaccine Side Effects, Says New Study

African American man in antiviral mask gesturing thumb up during coronavirus vaccination, approving of covid-19 immunization

Clinical trials showed that people who'd already contracted coronavirus had more vaccine side effects than people who hadn't had COVID-19. That could be because the immune system remembers the virus from the previous infection and has a stronger immediate response to the invader introduced by the vaccine. In people whose bodies haven't experienced the coronavirus, that immune response takes some time to build, which is why some people who haven't had COVID-19 have reported more side effects after the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.


What Does This Mean for You?

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If you're in one of those groups, know that those reactions are normal immune responses. You might want to ensure you can take it easy the day after receiving the second dose of the vaccine.  

RELATED: Dr. Fauci Just Said This is the Best Vaccine to Get


Should I Still Get The Vaccine? Yes.

Moderna and Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine

These findings haven't changed the CDC's recommendations as to who should get the vaccine. And that's basically everyone, except people who've had severe allergic reactions to vaccines in the past, and people who've had a severe allergic reaction to the first dose of a COVID vaccine. If in doubt, as your healthcare provider for their advice. So get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor. Read more about Michael
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