MILWAUKEE — Getting that first shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine is just the first step in becoming fully immunized against COVID-19, but health officials say getting that second and final dose is essential in beating this pandemic.
"It's important for all of us to get vaccinated, and there are benefits at the individual and population level that outweigh the risk of what we know could be posed by a vaccine," said Epidemiologist for the Jefferson County Health Department, Samroz Jakvani.
And as Wisconsinites head back for the final time to complete their vaccination series, public health officers are letting people know what they can anticipate, plan for, and do when it comes to potential side effects following the second dose.
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"The profiles between Pfizer and Moderna are pretty similar," said Dr. Lyle Ignace, CEO of Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center.
"You can expect to feel tiredness, headaches, muscle pain, chills, fever and nausea. These are all side effects that we expect with vaccinations. These are signs of a healthy immune response," said Jakvani.
Pewaukee mom Courtney Berken says she and her husband got their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at the beginning of April. And while her husband had no side effects, it was a different story for Courtney.
"I could feel a fever hit. I woke up with chills, and then I got a headache throughout the day, but that was it. I would much rather have that than what I've heard COVID feels like."
But is there really anything you can do preemptively to help mitigate symptoms? Some health leaders say not really, but one doctor did share tips on what could potentially help.
"Stay hydrated, have something to eat prior to that," said Dr. Ignace.
Some people say you could get worse symptoms from shot number one if you had COVID and from shot number two if you didn't, but medical officials can't confirm that at this time.
"I've heard those things as well, we don't have data to support any of those things," said Jakvani.
"People may have symptoms with the first and then have absolutely nothing on the second. Or nothing on the first, and absolutely everything on the second," said Dr. Ignace.
Taking a closer look, in Wisconsin, 25% of residents have completed their full vaccine series. In the city of Milwaukee, only 13% have completed their series versus 24% who've received at least one dose of the vaccine. And while side effects may occur, health officials say don't let that intimidate you.
"Individuals shouldn't use that as a deterrent from getting the vaccine," said Dr. Ignace.
After getting your vaccine, if certain side effects like fever, nausea, and pain or redness at the injection site continue after 3-4 days, you're encouraged to call your health care provider as soon as possible.