Why the COVID-19 Vaccine Second Dose Often Has Worse Side Effects

COVID-19 vaccine vials
Photo by Maksim Goncharenok from Pexels

By now, you should know that experiencing some mild side effects after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine should not be a cause for concern. It’s usually a good thing. It’s a sign that your immune system is working. You’re building antibodies to protect against the virus. But why is that the side effects are often worse after the second dose?

The first and second dose are exactly the same. But, experts told Yahoo! News the difference is that your body may have a more robust response to the second dose.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common side effects are pain, redness, and swelling on the arm that receives the shot. Some people may also experience tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea. But don’t worry if you don’t experience some side effects. The vaccine is still doing its job. Just be sure to keep an eye out for much rarer, more severe side effects. Medical professionals told Yahoo! News that “anyone experiencing symptoms such as throat swelling, itchiness, hives or trouble breathing after leaving the vaccination site should seek emergency medical care immediately.”

Another interesting finding is that younger people tend to experience more severe side effects. That’s because their bodies have a stronger immune system and mount a more vigorous immune response.

Studies have also found that women suffer worse side effects than men. Scientists think that’s because women tend to have a more robust immune system that produces more antibodies in response to vaccines. This may be related to reproductive hormones. Estrogen can cause immune cells to produce more antibodies. Another theory is that it may be because the immune-related genes are on the X chromosome. Women have two X chromosomes, but men only have one.

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