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Experts say coronavirus vaccines are safe and effective

After having side effects after the first dose, many are afraid to take the second one, but experts say the vaccines are safe and effective.

SAN ANTONIO — Coronavirus vaccines are rolling out across Texas at a faster rate. And even though millions of Americans have already received either one or two doses, some remain fearful of the side effects. 

Overall we've been told the vaccines are safe and effective, but after having side effects after the first dose, many are afraid to take the second one out of fear for worsened side effects. 

"You get more side effects after the second dose because it's a boost to the immune system," said Dr. Jan Patterson, an infectious disease specialist with UT Health San Antonio.

The most common side effects are pain at the injection site, a headache, body ache, chills and a fever. 

"We recommend that you go ahead and get that second dose," D. Patterson said. "The only time you wouldn't get a second dose is if you actually have an anaphylaxis or severe allergic reaction to the first dose."

Over 92 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through March 8, 2021. During this time the Vaccine Adverse Effect Reporting system received 1,637 reports of death among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine, but they determined the vaccine was not the cause of death. 

"You have to look at the background in the deaths that are occurring out of that many people, so this doesn't really exceed the death rate we would expect in that many people," Dr. Patterson added.

The CDC agrees and said the following: "A review of available clinical information including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records revealed no evidence that vaccination contributed to patient deaths."

"They've got lots of eyes looking at this, epidemiologists, people from the CDC and the FDA, that are looking in earnest to see if any of these could be vaccine related and at this time they don't appear to be," Dr. Patterson said.

She added that anyone who can get the vaccines should so we can reach herd immunity and get out of this pandemic.