Good Question: What do we need to know about vaccine side effects?

Published: Mar. 24, 2021 at 8:06 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - On Your Side Tonight is taking your questions about the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine to a Charlotte health expert.

Some of the normal side effects are fever, feeling sluggish and a sore arm, according to the CDC. However, it should last only a few days, at most.

By now, about a third of people in North Carolina are at least partially vaccinated for COVID-19. Many of them have felt some side effects.

However, depending on whether you’ve had COVID-19, and which dose of your shot you’re getting, your experience could be a little different.

What’s normal? Can you take painkillers for it? When do you need to go to the doctor?

Those are all Good Questions that viewers have sent to us.

Each week, WBTV’s Good Question podcast takes those questions to an expert.

WBTV’s Alex Giles spoke with Dr. Katie Passaretti, from Atrium Health, who is an expert on the vaccine.

She was the first person in North Carolina to get a vaccine shot.

This is what Dr. Katie Passaretti had to say on Wednesday’s podcast:

“I often get the question. You’re just really lucky if you didn’t have a side effect from one of those doses.”

“I felt fine after the shot but I did get tired later in the day, and I think just typically when you get a shot, your arm gets sore. I just thought it was a little bit longer than when I get a normal shot.”

“The most common side effects are pain at the site of injection. With all of the vaccines, especially with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, you can feel fatigued, have low-grade fevers, feel a little achy and a little run down. That typically starts around 12 hours after and resolves by around 48 hours after.”

“Johnson & Johnson is the new kid on the block, we are just starting to use it. I would say from the studies, the rates of the side effects are a little higher in Pfizer and Moderna. The allergic reaction seems to be more specific to Pfizer and Moderna.”

“No matter what age group, 40 to 50 percent of people may not have a side effect. There is no difference in the level of protection. Younger folks are probably more likely to see those side effects.”

COVID is still circulating, but certainly, not at the levels we’ve seen before but I would remind people the side effects we talked about for the vaccines do not include congestion, runny nose, loss of taste or smell, so in the back of your mind, if you are having persistent symptoms, especially if you have symptoms not associated with the vaccine, talk to your doctor about whether or not you need a COVID test.”

You can listen to more of her answers by subscribing to the Good Question podcast.

You can subscribe to the podcast and listen right now:

WBTV’s Good Question podcast is an extension of what we do here on On Your Side Tonight, every night. We just launched this podcast last week in partnership with Queen City Podcast Network.

New episodes of “WBTV’s Good Question” are released on Spotify and Apple Podcasts every Wednesday morning.

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And if you have a Good Question, send it to us. We’ll try to answer it here on the show or on our podcast. Use the hashtag #OYSTonight on Twitter or email

New episodes come down every Wednesday morning.

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