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CDC tracks COVID vaccine side effects through V-Safe app

Published: Feb. 5, 2021 at 2:44 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The Centers for Disease Control have been updating the list of COVID vaccine side effects as more shots are administered. But, the information wouldn’t be available if people didn’t report how they feel after receiving one.

Doctors say it’s common to feel some mild side effects after you get your COVID vaccine. They know this, thanks to a reporting system called V-Safe.

Once the data from your vaccine experience, and thousands of others, is compiled, scientists can make important calls about the vaccine that could potentially help generations to come in understanding how it works.

The CDC lists arm pain and swelling, fever, chills, tiredness and headaches as common side effects of the COVID vaccine.

“Only a certain percentage of folks do get those symptoms after the vaccination, but it is an indication that your body’s immune system is working,” said Keith Horner, CHI St. Alexius director of Pharmacy and Clinical Informatics.

As the shot becomes more widely available, doctors learn more about exactly what to expect.

“I received my vaccine a little over a week ago now. Everything felt fine that night. The next morning, my arm was just a little sore,” said vaccine recipient Chelsey Kralicek.

After receiving her vaccine, Kralicek logged her experience through the CDC’s app, V-Safe.

“I received a flier from the pharmacist that gave me my vaccine. There was a little code that I scanned, and I signed up for V-Safe. It was super simple. And then, they asked me how I was feeling and things like that,” Kalicek said.

The information gathered through V-Safe has helped doctors determine things like the need to have patients wait 15 minutes after vaccination to check for allergic reactions.

The data can also be used to tailor the vaccine itself.

“Scientists can utilize that data to determine if they’re learning more about what’s happening outside of what occurred in the study,” Horner said.

Horner says it will take months to years to get a full picture of all the potential side effects. However, he says that full picture is only possible with the help of people who report their experience.

After signing up for V-Safe, the app will check on you via text message up to a year after receiving your second dose. For more information, visit the CDC’s website and click on the “vaccines” tab.

While you should report your side effects to the CDC, Horner says it’s also important to contact your doctor if your symptoms persist past 48 hours.

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