The anecdotal reports are true: people who get the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine say they have more side effects than people who get the Pfizer / BioNTech shots, according to new data published this week in JAMA.
The study analyzed reports collected through a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention program called v-safe. It’s a text message-based program designed to track side effects in vaccine recipients. For the first week after each vaccine dose, people who enroll are prompted to fill out a daily survey about any symptoms, like fatigue or arm pain.
Over 3,600,000 people who got their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before February 21st enrolled in v-safe and checked in at least once. Around 70 percent of those people said they had some kind of injection site reaction, like pain or swelling, and half had a more generalized reaction like fatigue or chills. For both, people who got a Moderna shot were more likely to have a side effect — 73 percent had an injection site reaction, compared with 65 percent of people who had a Pfizer / BioNTech dose. Around 51 percent of Moderna recipients had full-body symptoms, compared with 48 percent of people who got Pfizer / BioNTech.
The gap widened after the second dose. About 1.4 million people completed those check-ins. Almost 82 percent of people getting their second Moderna shot had injection site pain versus just under 69 percent of people with Pfizer / BioNTech. Overall, 74 percent of people said they had general reactions after their Moderna shot, compared with 64 percent of people getting Pfizer / BioNTech. The biggest difference was for chills, which were experienced by 40 percent of people taking Moderna and only only 22 percent of people taking the Pfizer / BioNTech shot….[ ]
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