2nd Dose of COVID Vaccine Likely to Sting More
Dr. Greg Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group, suffered from fever up to 101 degrees accompanied by shaking chills for five hours straight after receiving the second dose of the Moderna vaccine. He also experienced nausea, severe headache, ringing in his ear, and a sore arm after the vaccination.
The above scenario is not only with him. The second dose of the two COVID-19 vaccines has gained a bad reputation of causing harsher side effects than the first one – from initial trial data and now from the personal experience of millions.
Simply explained, the first dose teaches our body to recognize the coronavirus as an enemy, while the second dose amplifies the lessons of the first dose. Well, higher education is always tougher than preliminary schooling, isn’t it?
By the time our body receives the second dose, the first dose has already helped the body line up an army of immune cells ready to react to a COVID-19 infection. The second dose is necessary after the first dose because it helps provide all the critical amplifications for the immune response that were prompted by the first one.
In their approval applications to the FDA, both Pfizer and Moderna cited a more intense reaction to the second dose in their volunteers during the clinical trials. Moderna was specific enough to categorize the side effects as “Grade 3”, including pain, swelling, body aches, fever, and headache. All the side effects were more severe after the second dose than the first one.
The purpose of the amplification is not only to make the immune system more effective but also to make it last longer. It drives up the antibody levels while making the body capable of responding effectively to COVID-19 mutations like the variants from South Africa and the United Kingdom.
Can You Believe It?
One interesting fact, as cited by Poland, is that younger and middle-aged people are likely to have more severe second-shot response than seniors, who are less immunologically reactive than others.