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What to expect from the second vaccine dose

The COVID-19 vaccines currently available require two doses, with the second shot given three weeks (Pfizer) or four weeks (Moderna) after the first. Very soon many of us will be rolling up our sleeves for Dose 2.

We’ve heard that some people respond differently the second time around, so we asked some vaccination veterans what Dose 2 was like, and if they have advice for us.

Nursing Professional Development

“I had Moderna. Second dose administration was fine, less soreness at the site than for Dose 1. The day after Dose 2, I didn’t feel well at all – body aches, headache, fatigue, and I felt like my skin ‘hurt.’ Flu-like symptoms, but I never had a fever. My advice – plan a low-key day after. Rest, hydrate, and use OTC medications if appropriate for you. Your body is doing the work it is supposed to do! Follow recommendations to not come to work if you’re ill or febrile.”

Adult ICU Rapid City Hospital

“My second shot I had absolutely no symptoms. I had very mild soreness to my arm which was less than the first. It is really great to know that I am 95 percent immune now. I finally feel like I can get back to my normal life again. It was well worth it!”

ICU Director, Rapid City Hospital

“I had zero side effects from my second dose. I do recommend taking some Ibuprofen immediately after the shot and 6 hours later. My wife and mother did this, and they said it was extremely helpful. They felt the typical symptoms and could definitely feel when the ibuprofen was wearing off. This helped keep the symptoms tolerable.”

Emergency Medicine Physician

“Anticipate being in a bit of a funk. Take the next day off if that’s an option. I was moderately ill, like a mild flu for a day. I chose not to take any medication for symptoms, with the thought to let my immune system get charged as it was expected to do.”

Pennington County Sheriff’s Office

“ I definitely felt an immune response about 12 hours after my second dose. I experienced moderate symptoms like a headache, body aches, fatigue and a slight fever along with a sore arm near the injection site. I took Ibuprofen, Tylenol and stayed hydrated, which alleviated most of my symptoms. That short time of discomfort was well worth the level of protection given by the vaccine.

Stay hydrated and get plenty of rest. Consider having a plan to be out of work the next day or two in case you experience moderate symptoms. Understand that mild/moderate symptoms are your body’s natural immune response and confirm it’s working.

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