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Yale doctor explains why we experience side effects more from second dose of COVID vaccine

Like several others on the New Haven Health Department staff, the symptoms arose only after the second dose.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — **What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine** 

As Connecticut ramps up the number of residents receiving Covid vaccinations, there are a growing number of stories about side effects, but not until the second shot.

We have all heard about the amazing 90%-95% efficacy of the two Covid vaccines presently available, which means your body can form a wonderful immune response. However, sometimes that can result in uncomfortable side effects.

"It's just typical symptoms of your immune system getting really activated," said Dr. Ellen F. Foxman, Immunologist with Yale Medicine.

"I felt fatigued, I had a fever, I had the jitters and then I also had hot flashes and a headache," said New Haven Health Director Maritza Bond, who received her second dose earlier this week.

Like several others on the New Haven Health Department staff, the symptoms arose only after the second dose.

"This has to do with how the immune system works," said Foxman, who added that people should rest easy knowing that it’s not a different formula or a higher dosage you’re receiving with the second shot. 

"The way that immune system works is that if you see something once, you start forming an immune response against it," she said.

But, if your body sees it again, that tells the body it’s time to really rev up now.

"And make a really good blocking antibodies against this thing," Foxman said.

And she emphasizes the urgency of the second dose, which matures "the immune response. And that’s also why the second dose results in  more symptoms."

She says people need to know that this vaccine does pack more of a punch than your typical flu shot, but that's normal. 

And before receiving your second dose, the New Haven Health Director says, "It’s going to be important for people to pre-plan and really allow 24 to 48 hours of recovery after."

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