Stay Calm: COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects Appear Not Much Worse Than Those of Other Vaccines

Don't let stories of rare and dangerous side effects discourage you from getting immunized.


All vaccines aim to provoke your immune system to produce a protective response that will prevent or mitigate a future infection from the targeted microbes. In some people, that initial immune response might come with a few uncomfortable side effects.

Let's briefly consider the common side effects of some vaccines often given to adults. The list of side effects of the seasonal flu vaccine, for example, includes soreness, redness, and/or swelling where the shot was given, a low-grade headache, fever, nausea, muscle aches, and fatigue. People inoculated with the hepatitis A vaccine sometimes experience swelling, tenderness, redness, warmth, or a hard lump where the shot was given, along with a low-grade fever, a general ill feeling, nausea, and a headache.

Travelers to the Asia-Pacific region are sometimes immunized (as I have been) against Japanese encephalitis. One in four people who contracts that disease dies. One study reported that 46 percent of those vaccinated experienced no side effects at all. However, 54 percent reported about one or more adverse effects. Local reactions at the injection site affected 41 percent of vaccine recipients, while 13 percent had systemic side effects like headache, fever, dizziness, and generalized rash. (Fun fact: Some Japanese encephalitis vaccines are made using kidney epithelial cells extracted from an African green monkey.)

So which side effects can those of us lucky enough to be inoculated with the new COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna expect? According to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) evaluation, the "most common solicited adverse reactions were injection site reactions (84.1%), fatigue (62.9%), headache (55.1%), muscle pain (38.3%), chills (31.9%), joint pain (23.6%), [and] fever (14.2%)." Among the 44,000 participants, three "serious" adverse events were reported: one case of inflamed lymph nodes, a shoulder injury (possibly from the administration of the vaccine), and an episode of heart arrhythmia in a participant with known cardiac conditions.

A preliminary report on the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in The New England Journal of Medicine observed, "Solicited adverse events that occurred in more than half the participants included fatigue, chills, headache, myalgia, and pain at the injection site." The report notes that the side effects were often more pronounced after the second inoculation.

In summary, people inoculated with the new COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna experience the same sort of mild to moderately uncomfortable side effects found in most other vaccines commonly given to adults.

But what about the reports of two people in the United Kingdom who experienced an anaphylactic allergic reaction—their blood pressure dropped suddenly and they had difficulty breathing—to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine? It turns out that both of those individuals have a history of severe allergic reactions. The U.K. government's advice is now that the vaccine should not be given to anyone who has ever had an anaphylactic reaction to a food, medicine, or vaccine.

The upshot is that news stories, Facebook posts, and tweets recounting rare dangerous side effects of the new COVID-19 vaccines should not discourage you from getting immunized when your turn comes.

NEXT: Justice Department Sues Alabama Over Its Violent Prison System

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Or you could get covid and be completely asymptomatic. Hmmmm

    1. It's awesome that people need to be told to "stay calm". Just let people decide for themselves.

      I don't know about you, but when I tell someone to "calm down", they don't like it so much.

      1. I get nervous when someone tells me to calm down.

        1. Yes, now c.a.l.m. down!

          Just don't point out that this is the first vaccine of its type that actually fucks with your genetics [everything else is based on a reaction to living or dead virus'], that it's rushed to market with enormous profits, that there's not been one damn test done on a pregnant woman [let alone her newborn who inherit the mother's mRNA], and that the longest testing on any of the subjects is about 3 months. Cuz politics!

          Everything has side effects and the idea that the worst thing that happens to you is feeling a bit icky for a few days is something they don't know because they can't know it. Anyone saying different is lying their ass off, which then makes you wonder what else they aren't disclosing. This is a lot like hiring a city tour guide who just moved to town yesterday.

          So a year from now if they find that there are birth defects or that leukemia quadruples, schizophrenia is off the charts or that your left nad shrivels up.... well at least then Pfizer will have its next medical challenge to beat, and all you'll hear is "hehe oops... sorry but we didn't know". And of course that will be Trump's fault too.

          No, long term side effects probably won't be any of the above, but bottom line, there will be side effects because there always are, and they have no idea what they might be.

          Let's also not lose sight that while this may be targeting the immune system for a single virus, it isn't above the desires of totalitarians and the elite to want to change aspects of society to use such things to reach their goals and reshape global populations into whatever moves toward their agenda. Anyone who doesn't understand this should look up the actual works of Josef Mengele, Japan's Unit 731, East German and Soviet gulag experiments, Tuskegee and Guatemalan Studies, etc.

          Turning off the old age gene, targeting those with disabilities, eliminating contrarian personalities, and limiting/enhancing fertility are all within the desires of those who seek power and to impose their worldview. And using fear of a pandemic to get widespread compliance works.

          1. Bluwater.....really good points. Thank you.

            1. Gotta be honest, expected a weird screed and it wasn't. Nice job.

              1. APPLY Online work from home USA online work details used this site…… USA ONLINE JOBS

          2. Another important thing to keep in mind is the risk/benefit calculation.

            We have no idea what the long-term effects of the vaccine are.

            We have 13 months worth of data on the effects of the coronavirus. Unless you are very advanced in age or in extremely poor physical health due to other medical conditions, your risk from coronavirus is indistinguishable from the season flu.

            For the vast majority of people, a third or more of which have already had Covid 19 without developing any symptoms, the known risk is extremely minimal and does not incentivize taking the unknown risk.

            1. You need a certain level of antibodies to fight off the disease. That is why a booster shot is being used in this case. To get the levels higher. There is evidence that antibody levels decline rapidly in people with mild disease or are asymptomatic.



              1. Or, they could protected the people in the at-risk groups and let the disease run its course with the rest of us.

                Then, we would be protected by our T cell immunity and wouldn't need to have "a certain level of antibodies" at all times.

                However, that idea would have precluded the need for this vaccine and whatever else they are trying to accomplish with it, so it was probably a non-starter.

          3. I should be getting the first shot next week so I will let you know how it goes.

          4. No it doesn’t fuck with your genetics and you don’t inherit mRNA. I and others have explained this before. Humans do not have a mechanism to replicate mRNA. Once it enters the cell it is degraded in about an hour.

            You should really do a little research outside of Facebook and Twitter before spreading false information which may affect the health of others.

          5. You obviously are confusing messenger RNA mRNA with mitochondrial DNA mtDNA. You have no idea what you are talking about.

    2. Pretty obvious that this "Reason" outfit is just another propaganda & disinformation organ, by how it is so unapologetically promoting the mask/vaccine bandwagon. Makes me wonder, how much does it get from Big Pharma donors to promote their products? 'Libertarians', my ass. Just another trainload of statist hypnotic suggestions designed to foment thoughtless obedience on cue. Go ahead and try to stick a needle in me, but expect several of you to get hurt trying, and failing, at it.

      1. It's not just Reason. Reality itself is conspiring against the conservative narrative. It just doesn't get any worse than that. The liberals have infiltrated the very fabric of existence.

        1. rEAliTY HaS A LIbErAL BiAS

          Do you have any references that aren't 2 decades out of date you fucking sadsack? Mean Girls and Jon Stewart in 2020?

    3. I get paid over $190 per hour working from home with 2 kids at home. I never thought I'd be able to do it but my best friend earns over 15k a month doing this and she convinced me to try. 

      copy here link........USA ONLINE JOB.

    4. I’m making over a $7k month working part time. I kept hearing mbs other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided look sew into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is where i started......... Visit Here

  2. I’ll wait thanks. You first.

    1. It’s up to you, but let me provide my appreciation for moving me up closer to the head of the line.

      I’ve had dozens of vaccinations over my lifetime, never had any more reaction than a sore arm or a mild fever, and I haven’t had the flu in more than 20 years. The first vaccine I remember was the polio live virus in a sugar cube, the sugar was probably worse for me than the vaccine, I never got polio, but I certainly got cavities.

      1. "It’s up to you, but let me provide my appreciation for moving me up closer to the head of the line."

        Provding by shutting the fuck up and ending the stupid pretense.

      2. I’ve had dozens of vaccinations over my lifetime, never had any more reaction than a sore arm or a mild fever, and I haven’t had the flu in more than 20 years.

        I've never had the flu and also never received a flu vaccine. Can I buy your rock that keeps tigers away?

      3. The polio live virus (Sabin) vaccine was not given in a sugar cube, but rather in a packet of cherry(?)-flavored red liquid. So your memory is not as accurate as you think.

        1. Beginning in January, 1962, two Arizona counties, Maricopa and Pima, conducted separate, but similar, voluntary mass immunization programs using Sabin oral polio vaccine. All clinics were scheduled on Sundays, and school buildings were used as clinic sites.The vaccine was dispensed on sugar cubes. During these programs, 754,000 persons were immunized against all three types of polio. This represented approximately 75% of the total population of both counties.

  3. Build back better!

    Great reset!

  4. Is this written for people who don't want the vaccine? Because I can tell you it won't make them want it.

    I really think this is written for people who want to virtue signal how they are awesome for taking the vaccine and you should too, you dirty rat....

    1. It's part of the orchestrated media event where they trot out all your favorite personalities to virtue signal, then your patriotic duty, then threaten you if you don't, and then you're a lying Nazi racist bastard who deserves to starve and have your house burned. Watch the progression.

    2. Or maybe it's for the people who want to virtue signal how they are awesome for NOT taking the vaccine.

      1. Because it's just illogical to question rushed science, particularly when there are huge profits and no liability involved. Also, science is always used for good, particularly when there's politics involved.

        Yeah, bringing up doubts, not wanting to be a guinea pig, and questioning science is virtue signalling. ( ͡????️ ͜ʖ ͡????️)

    3. How about neither? I’ve have immediate family members who have had allergic reactions to vaccines before, they probably won’t be getting the vaccine. But suspect every one else will.

      1. Im not taking the vaccine for kungflu.

        I also dont wear a mask. Fucking mask pussies.

  5. I am creating an honest wage from home 1900 Dollars/week , that is wonderful, below a year agone i used to be unemployed during a atrocious economy. I convey God on a daily basis i used to be endowed these directions and currently it's my duty to pay it forward and share it with everybody, Here is I started..…
    Here is More information.

  6. I'm not waiting because I'm worried about side effects. I'm waiting because I am apparently told to get in line behind people either 'more at risk' or 'more essential' than me.

    Doctors, Nurses, EMS, anyone else even remotely related to the medical field, the elderly, people with co-morbidities, policemen, firefighters, teachers, politicians . . .

    1. Don't worry, there will be vaccine available for you because many doctors and nurses don't want to take it.

    2. I heard on the local news tonight that if you're black, you'll have the next priority because "the black community" is at higher risk. I'm sure that will be of comfort to anyone else of any different skin color if they get it and wondering if they will see tomorrow.

      1. Don't worry. While white people must take the vaccine in order to participate in society, the darkies can say no because of the Tuskegee experiment.

      2. It is true. Also Hispanics and native Americans. Higher risk of cases, hospitalization, and death. The Navajo nation was smart to close its borders.

  7. When it becomes available for me i may take it no hurry but i also don't want to get Covid since I have co-morbidites. i think its hard to get a straight answer even from my own doctors

    1. Doctors aren't allowed to question the orthodoxy. Already I know of one doc whose contract wasn't renewed and another who has been placed on "leave" because they said they would not be recommending it to their patients.

  8. People with sever food allergies should check with an allergist first.

    "The decision by British drug regulators to recommend against use of the coronavirus vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech in people who have a history of severe allergic reactions has raised a number of concerns."

    Meanwhile, anybody with an autoimmune disorder should definitely check with their specialist before vaccination. If your immune system attacks any of your organs because it can't differentiate between cells in your body and a pathogen, it may be prudent to check with your specialist before you pump your immune system up to fight something that isn't there. On the other hand, if it's judged to be safe for people with your disorder, having an autoimmune disorder may increase your chances of morbidity with Covid-19--so you might want to be one of the first to get the vaccine.

    1. Nothing is perfectly safe.

      Critical thinking is always prudent.

      Appeal to authority is the fallacy to which libertarians should be least susceptible.

  9. Apart from the injection site reaction - common to almost all vaccines because the whole point of a vaccine is to stimulate an inflammatory response by the immune system - the side effects look mostly like a milder case of the disease itself. Maybe less than half as prevalent (if 40% are asymptomatic skewed by age and up to 80% are 'mild') and maybe 1/10 as long-lasting (side effects seem to last a day not two weeks).

    Still - looking at the comments here, there are a lot of people who won't get the vaccination and won't do it twice if they do do it once. So we'll have to get herd immunity the more old-fashioned way here in the US.

    1. Still – looking at the comments here, there are a lot of people who won’t get the vaccination and won’t do it twice if they do do it once

      Really? Which ones in particular have actually said, "Nope, I ain't ever taking that shit"?

      Don't confuse caution about a highly-rushed vaccine with being anti-vax. Considering most of us are in demographics that won't be at the head of the queue to get it anyway, we'll have a much better idea of the extent and severity of side effects once we're finally able to get the stick, and decide if the risk is worth it.

    2. the side effects look mostly like a milder case of the disease itself

      So worth it to prevent a disease that doesn't cause symptoms in 90% of cases, doesn't cause hospitalization in 98% of cases, and doesn't cause death in 99.99% of cases.

    3. There is simply no way to “protect the vulnerable” when there are large numbers of infected people. The vulnerable are generally already doing what they can and still catching the virus.

      Second point is death is not the only thing to look at. Spending a month in the ICU and ending up with permanent lung and other organ damage is not a good outcome.

      Third this idea rests on unproven assumptions without scientific basis. Estimates of R0 vary widely and nobody knows how long acquired immunity lasts. True that nobody knows that for vaccines either however all data show a very strong response for the two vaccines based on RNA thus far. Those look like the best weapons we have at this point to fight the virus.

      1. To your second point, a much better approach to avoid death would be to stop trying to sidetrack those treatments which might help early in the process to avoid people even getting into the hospital.

        Everything that has anecdotally worked on people who were in the early stages of the virus has been clinically tested by giving it to people advanced enough to be hospitalized or worse hospitalized on a respirator. I can only take that as a conscious decision to sabotage any cheap, off patent solution since these experts they would know that the only effective cheap treatment for another major virus (influenza - Tamiflu) has to be taken within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms or it doesn't work.

        They just did it again in response to the story about 80% of severe Covid patients having low vitamin D levels. They did a quick study by giving extra vitamin D to a group of already hospitalized Covid patients and it didn't work. Why wouldn't they try getting people's vitamin D levels up BEFORE they get sick?

  10. Meh. Flu shot. When it's available I'll get around to it.

    But if you tell me to "stay calm" one more time, I am going to FUCKING LOSE IT.

  11. I want to know how long it will be before we hear that minorities are more impacted by the side effects. Because racism.

  12. What are the long term effects of these new mRNA vaccines?

    What is the liability of the vaccine manufacturers?

    1. Well, first, how confident am I? I’m not that confident,” Cuomo told host George Stephanopoulos. “But my opinion doesn’t matter. I don’t believe the American people are that confident. You’re going to say to the American people now, here’s a vaccine, it was new, it was done quickly, but trust this federal administration and their health administration that it’s safe? And we’re not 100 percent sure of the consequences. I think it’s going to be a very skeptical American public about taking the vaccine, and they should be.”

      1. But that's only because this is the Trump vaccine. Once there's a Biden vaccine, Cuomo will be right in line for it.

      2. Who gives a fuck what Coumo said.

    2. Hell, the only effects they are sure about are the immediate ones given that the testing is only about 3 months old. And you even have to wonder how extensive was the follow up on the health of those participants. Did they do broad spectrum baseline testing with comprehensive follow-ups? Highly doubtful. More likely, they simply tracked whether they tested positive in the next 3 months, and that's good enough.

      Accutane, Darvocet, Meridia, and Vioxx were all on the market for at least 5 years before they realized that thousands of people were dying, and all of those had gone through years of studies before approval.

      1. I know someone in one of the trials. They do call and make follow ups to track. I assume they will keep doing so. This will all have long term follow up studies as time goes on and more people get the vaccines.

      2. Of course there are risks with any drug or vaccine. Just as there are for any medical procedure. Medicine uses powerful tools.

    3. What is the liability of the vaccine manufacturers?

      That's an easy one. Zero. Vaccine manufacturers were granted blanket immunity from liability by congress as long as they comply with FDA diktats. Instead of the vaccine manufacturer being liable for damage caused by their products, the US federal government pays for any damage claims from a special fund. Guess how many damage claims have been paid from said fund?

      1. Well the companies would not be releasing the vaccines so quickly without that immunity. Look there is nothing under the table here.

        This has been a heroic effort. I will take it as soon as it is available and it is not just me I am thinking about protecting.

  13. Serious question moment.....does Reason get dollars from Pharma? I know they take donations...I have donated in the past. But if we follow the dollars, where does it lead?

    1. Koch Industries is a chemical company. Guess who some of their biggest clients are?

      1. They also make toilet paper so I guess all of us.

  14. The most trustworthy vaccine created in the history of mankind went from "we may not not see this until a few years later" to arriving as an early Christmas present that arrived JUST after the election.

    Take it! Jus take it now! If you don't take it, then you won't be able to work or ride an airplane! In fact, all the persons of color should get it before the whiteys!

    Why is there a need for the rush? Smart people know that the the vaccine is going to doctors and front liners. If side effects from this sample is mostly negligible, then more people will take it. If not, then we can all be like "I wish Trump was still president" because back then the media and libertarians were skeptical about the vaccine. NY was going to verify vaccine before it hit the shelves!

  15. Don't worry if people in nursing homes die after they get jabbed because people in nursing homes die all the time.

    Also, we need to REALLY FREAK OUT about people in nursing homes dying with corona.

  16. So Trump got shot down 9-0 (or 8-0 if Barret didn't vote). We do have Congress having to accept the electors (on January 6, if I'm not mistaken), but they're not going to overturn the election.

    1. I know it's pretty hard to remember which article is which when you're blind drunk and trying to wipe your daughter's pussy juice off your cock, sarcasmic, but this article is about Covid.

    2. Poor unreason cant count.

      Alito and thomas dissented. Constitution strikes again!

      Expect unreason staffers to shit themselves constantly over the next 5 weeks until Trumps second term as President starts.

  17. Don't let stories of rare and dangerous side effects discourage you from getting immunized.

    But let the .01% chance of death from a cold bug keep you hiding in your basement with one shitty diaper on your ass and another on your face, right you pathetic bootlicking pussy?

    1. I’m not getting it for the same reason I’ve never gotten a flu shot. I don’t like needles.

      1. Plus, if everyone else gets it, I don’t need it.

        1. Did you read the comments here from your fellow courageous Reason commenting disease fighting warriors? That ain’t gonna happen.

      2. Oh c’mon it doesn’t even hurt. Just look the other way and think of Halle Berry in that topless sunbathing scene.

  18. Fucking unreason staff pussies.

    I dont wear a mask for kungflu and I wont be getting a vaccine for a virus that has a death rate of <1%. Knock yourself out.

    Bailey and the other commies at unreason are such pussies.

    Look how they shit themselves.

    1. I will be 99% okay.

  19. Nice blog! This was very informative content, thanks for sharing with us. If you are looking :

  20. Stay at home stay safe and also follow the Coronavirus Disease (COVID 19) Guidelines according to WHO.

  21. The upshot is that news stories, Facebook posts, and tweets recounting rare dangerous side effects of the new COVID-19 vaccines should not discourage you from getting immunized when your turn comes.

    Not sinister at all.

  22. If someone is prone to being goaded into irrational panic based on statistics, why do you think they'll suddenly become rational now with statistics?

    Bottom line: People don't get statistics.

    You might as well try to calmly explain to a gambling addict that they statistically won't win that next hand. Heck, we tried to tell the COVID panic people that statistically they'll be fine without a vaccine and you see how well that worked out.

    1. Getting a vaccine for a highly infectious disease which can result in serious illness or even death and has infected at least 16 million Americans and climbing is “irrational panic”?

      1. Citation needed on 16 million affected.

  23. I'am made $84, 8254 so far this year working online and I'm a full time student. Im using an online business. Here what I do,.for more information simply open this link thank you......... READ MORE

  24. Report today that San Joaquin county in California is out of ICU beds.

    1. I googled that and clicked a random news article:

      "The 0% calculated by the state doesn’t mean all hospitals have run out of intensive care unit beds"

      “From what we understand, the state is looking at the percentage of available, staffed ICU beds and makes adjustments based on the percentage of COVID-positive patients admitted to hospitals”

      .... OK then.

      1. Yes what they will have to do is triage. Move patients who would otherwise be in ICU out earlier and send more patients who would be admitted under normal circumstances home. It is not a good thing.

        Say you are a trauma hospital and you have to keep beds open. What do you do? And all of the other critical patients who present.

        You can get equipment but there are only so many trained personel.

      2. I just saw it about that one region.

        It does happen under normal circumstances in a hospital from time to time. I have seen it. However there are usually other hospitals where you can send EMS within a reasonable distance. When the whole region is clogged up you just improvise I suppose.

      3. Since I am on a rant here.

        One thing to keep in mind is that not all patients are stable enough for transport even with medical helicopter available.

    Google pays for every Person every hour online working from home job. I have received $23K in this month easily and I earns every weeks $5K to 8$K on the internet. Abg Every Person join this working easily by just just open this website and follow instructions
    COPY This Website OPEN HERE….. Visit Here

  26. We survived the Spanish Flu with no vax and the economy boomed..thanks to Warren G. Harding's Austrian Economics cure. Personally everytime I have had a flu shot I was sicker than a dog for a few days...worse than any mild flu I ever caught. And the rush to get to market and blanket immunity for big pharma does concern me. But our leaders all promise easy solutions...even Trump...the hard choices to stop living beyond our means, pay down the debt and let the free market work even it that means "uncomfortable" social results is considered "racism or worse" today. Do we really know enough about the vax to say it's safe? I don't know..I just wish Reason would hire someone with a real hard science degree who is a libertarian and not a cosmo woke to be their science "expert."

  27. Well according to recent leaks the Chinese agents have massively infiltrated a number of significant corporations, including about 120 CCP loyalists in Pfizer, a company that's developing the Covid vaccine.

    Did Salwell sleep with Fang Fang? No one can know, because his camp says that's "classified info". Diane Feinstein was driven by around by a Chinese spy for years. Yawn.

    Reason Magazine, which is functionally no different than the Lincoln Project at the moment, continues to massively drop the ball as Marxist radicals and Chinese influence steer the government to dangerous new territory. If you searched "Eric Salwell" on this site you get zero results, which puts this rag in the same elite tier as the New York Times.

    I'm no anti vaccine guy, but I'll wait a bit to take it, thanks. And maybe we shouldn't be rushing this stuff to our military and frontliners all at once.

    1. edit - That should be eric swalwell. My bad. But the last Reason article was on him was from last year.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.