Why Doctors Feel Happy To Get Symptoms From The Covid-19 Vaccine

Doctors have been worried about this for a long time, and now it’s starting to happen. As the Covid-19 vaccine has started to become available beyond health care workers, people are starting to refuse to take their shot. If people won’t take the vaccine that could end the coronavirus pandemic, what comes next?

One of the most common reasons people develop fears of vaccines has to do with a common misunderstanding about side effects. But what most of the public doesn’t know is that doctors who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 were delighted when the vaccine gave them symptoms.

When doctors got sore arms, fatigue, muscle aches or fevers after their Covid-19 vaccine, they celebrated. That’s because those symptoms are not dangerous ‘reactions,’ but positive signs that the immune system is responding to the vaccine. Feeling lucky after the Covid-19 vaccine means it’s working.

As a pediatrician, educating parents about normal responses to vaccines is one of the first things I do. And that’s because there’s so much misinformation about vaccines. Take the dreaded fever for instance: the belief that fever is dangerous has been passed down from generation to generation. It’s not. We were told we need to bring our fevers down or something bad will happen. We don’t, and it won’t.

It’s not the fever that is dangerous, it’s that certain diseases that cause fever are (and most of those disease are now vaccine preventable). Or as Bruce Y Lee writes, “There’s a difference between feeling sick and being sick.”

The thing about fever is that it’s not actually caused by the viruses or infections that invade your body. Fever is something your body does for itself. Fevers are part of a beneficial response our immune system creates to boost our metabolism’s and the effectiveness of our white blood cells and fight off infections.

So when we get a fever after a vaccine, it means our immune system is doing exactly what we want it to do. We want the immune system to take notice and mount a response. For some that might mean a fever, but for almost everyone it means a sore arm or swelling around the site of the vaccination. And that’s all the immune system noticing the vaccine and mounting a response. Without the immune doing this work, we won’t get our memory B cells to store a pattern for defense against Covid-19.

When I got my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine against Covid-19, I experienced a sore swollen arm, on and off muscle aches, nausea and fatigue. These symptoms lasted about three days. But they weren’t nearly as bad as the various illnesses I’ve gotten from my adorable little pediatric patients over the years. I took naps during those days after the vaccine, but I was also well enough to take my rambunctious puppy to the dog park in the snow.

Most of my colleagues had sore arms for about a day after their vaccines. A couple of them had symptoms similar to mine and one of them even had a fever. But not one of these doctors was alarmed, instead we texted each other our happiness that we were getting to experience evidence that our vaccines were working.

Another example of how doctors think about side effects after the Covid-19 vaccine goes like this. The way Covid-19 is killing people has to do with an extreme immune system response. That heightened response or cytokine storm only happens to some people. While there is certainly no research evidence for this, doctors figure that those of us who had more symptoms after the vaccine might’ve just dodged a bullet. Maybe we were in the group that would’ve gotten sicker than others if we’ve gotten real Covid-19.

So the key thing we want the public to know is that doctors are not worried about the vaccine for Covid-19. We are worried that you won’t take it and that the pandemic will drag on. Doctors didn’t throw away our shot. We hope you won’t throw away yours.

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How can we be successful without breaking ourselves? We can take effective action under pressure.

I teach people how to use their own biology to do their best work. After years of study, I created a 3-step method rooted in neuroscience and psychology, and I spoke about it at TEDx. Then I went wider, and explored what happens when we break down silos between scientific disciplines. It’s amazing what you learn when you get sociology talking to neuroscience, or child development talking to business research.

I am a board-certified pediatrician and an Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics at Rush University. I have an AB in History from Princeton University, i.e. Ideological and Cultural History. My M.D. came from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at Rutgers University. My pediatrics residencies were at Duke University and the University of Chicago. I am a former Clinical Instructor in Pediatrics at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine.

I live in Illinois with my husband, two rambunctious sons, and a variety of hamsters.

Source: Why Doctors Feel Happy To Get Symptoms From The Covid-19 Vaccine

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