Melanie Swift, M.D., COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation and Distribution, Mayo Clinic: When we get vaccinated, we often experience some side effects and the reason that we get side effects is that our immune system is revving up and reacting. Now when you get sick, the same thing happens and actually a lot of the symptoms from illnesses that we get like influenza and COVID, are actually caused not by the direct action of the virus, by our immune system, so our bodies react and that gives us these general symptoms like fever, achiness, headache.
When you take two doses of vaccine, the first vaccine is the first time for your body to see this particular protein, the spike protein that the vaccines produce and your body begins to develop an immune response. The second vaccine dose goes into your body, start to make that spike protein and your antibodies jump on it and rev up and your immune system responds.
The vaccine side effects that we've seen resolve within about 72 hours of taking the vaccine. At the most, those side effects can last up to a week. And we really have not seen long-term side effects from the vaccine beyond that. It is so important to get this vaccine when it's offered to you, even if you're healthy, even if you might not be at risk for complications from COVID yourself. You could catch it and transmit it to other people who are and our society really needs everyone to be vaccinated so that we can stop transmission.