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COVID Vaccine Side Effects More Common After 2nd Dose, Says Dr. Mallika Marshall

EAST HAMPSTEAD, NH (CBS) - A counselor at a Massachusetts hospital recently made a trip to the Emergency Room because of side effects he experienced from the COVID-19 vaccine.

Chris of East Hampstead, New Hampshire, received his second dose of COVID-19 vaccine on Sunday. On Monday, he developed a fever. "He was bright red," his wife Sue Troy told WBZ-TV. "I touched his forehead, we took his temperature, and it was 105.5."

Because of the quick spike in temperature, the family's primary doctor advised them to go to the nearest Emergency Room, to roll down the windows on the way to cool him down, and to put a cold compress on Chris' neck. "That made me really nervous," Sue said.

When they got to the hospital, Chris' fever had already cooled from the car ride. He was examined by doctors, given a rapid COVID-19 test and Motrin, and sent home.

"It was scary," Sue said. In the moment, she worried he was having an adverse reaction.

However, after speaking with doctors, the family learned a fever can be a normal reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine.

"After the second dose, it's more common to have other side headaches, chill, fever, fatigue," WBZ's Dr. Mallika Marshall explained.

"After the second COVID-19 vaccine dose, there is a higher probability that you might develop those symptoms," she said. "Most people still don't get a fever, [but] up to 20 percent of people after that second dose might."

Sue Troy says the doctors told her family the same thing, that it was likely a natural reaction to Chris' second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

"They were very confident that it was responsive to the vaccine that he had had," she explained. Doctors also encouraged her to buy an oral thermometer instead of a forehead one, since they presume the 105.5 temperature read was likely inaccurate.

If patients do get these side effects after their second dose of the vaccine, Dr. Marshall said to think of it "as your body doing what it is supposed to be doing."

"That's your immune system building immunity to the coronavirus to protect you from what could be a deadly disease down the road," she explained. Dr. Marshall already received her first dose of the vaccine and told WBZ she is excited for her second dose, which she will receive on Thursday.

Dr. Mark Poznansky, the director of The Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, told WBZ that patients can never be too prepared before getting their vaccine.

"We know that type of side effect can make people hesitant about getting the vaccine or the second dose," he said. "I think one has to conquer that through information through trusted medical sources...a patient pre-armed with information about what they might experience is more likely to take calm responses to symptoms that occur."

Despite the brief scare and emergency room visit, Sue Troy says her husband recovered quickly -- enough to go to work the next day -- and she's still looking forward to the day she can get a shot. She only wishes she had planned, and had Motrin in the house after her husband received his. "I definitely am looking forward to getting my vaccine," she told WBZ. "I don't want to discourage anybody from getting it. I think it's really important."

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