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CDC advisory panel says people must be warned about vaccine side effects

CDC advisory panel says people must be warned about vaccine side effects
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Members of an advisory committee to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Monday patients need to be warned about the potential side effects of getting a COVID-19 vaccine so they are not discouraged from getting a second dose.

"As a practicing physician, I have got to be sure my patients will come back for the second dose. We really have got to make patients aware that this is not going to be a walk in the park," Sandra Adamson Fryhofer, a physician representing the American Medical Association, told the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices in a meeting Monday. 

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses within three to four weeks of each other.

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Doctors worry patients might not return for the second dose if they experience unexpected side effects from the first one. 

"They are going to know they got a vaccine. They are not going to feel wonderful,” Fryhofer said. 

While no serious safety concerns have been reported from Pfizer or Moderna’s clinical trials, patients reported side effects that are common with vaccinations, including pain at the injection site, muscle aches, low-grade fever, fatigue or headaches. 

Vaccinations trigger immune responses in the body, which can sometimes come with side effects. The annual flu shot can include similar side effects. 

"These are immune responses, so if you feel something after vaccination, you should expect to feel that. And when you do, it's normal that you have some arm soreness or some fatigue or some body aches or even some fever," said Patricia Stinchfield of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners during the meeting. 

Pfizer announced last week it would seek emergency authorization from the Food & Drug Administration for its COVID-19 vaccine. Moderna plans to ask for an authorization in the coming weeks. Both companies recently announced that clinical trials show their vaccines are more than 90 percent effective.