Nebraska doctor urges people to get both doses of COVID-19 vaccine when available

Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 8:10 AM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - We had a few people reach out to us who’ve said they’ve gotten the COVID-19 shot, experienced symptoms, and now are hesitant to receive their second dose, including a woman living in Blue Hill, Nebraska who works at a healthcare facility. After getting her first shot, she suffered from chills, headaches and nausea, but a doctor 10/11 spoke with says that should be expected.

One of the main side effects many experience after getting the COVID-19 vaccine is a sore arm for a day or two. Dr. Mark Rupp is the chief of infectious diseases at Nebraska Medical Center and says these symptoms are indicators that your body is recognizing the new vaccine.

He says the vaccine is shown to be more effective when given in two doses, weeks apart. That’s why getting the first and second doses is vitally important for it to do its job.

“When you compare it to the real risk of death from a serious disease like COVID-19 or the increasing reports of lingering symptoms that are associated with COVID-19, the risk benefit ratio is clear,” Dr. Rupp tells 10/11.

Dr. Rupp explains he understands certain side effects from the vaccine can disrupt everyday life like going to school or work, but he says when compared to lingering symptoms of having COVID-19, vaccine side effects are much more minor.

Dr. Rupp tells us the initial dose is simply to get the vaccine into your system, but the second booster shot ensures protection.

“When you do the math, when you look at the numbers, when you look at what is the benefit versus what is the risk, I think it’s clear people should pony up, roll up their sleeves, and get the vaccine as soon as it’s available to them,” Dr. Rupp tells 10/11.

Dr. Rupp says the vaccine, when taken in the first and second doses, shows a 95% effective rate against COVID-19. That’s why he says he’s stressing the importance of getting both doses to increase it’s chances of working in your body.

Dr. Rupp notes that during the break period between the first and second doses, you’re still not as protected from a severe case of the virus, which he says is why you need the second booster shot.

Dr. Rupp says if you’ve gotten the first dose of the vaccine and had side effects after, you should anticipate those again after getting your second dose. He says taking over the counter medicine like Tylenol or Motrin should help.

Dr. Rupp suggests if you can, try to schedule your second dose of the vaccine when you have time to rest and re-cooperate in case you experience some side effects. If you start to develop things like a cough or shortness of breath, it’s best to see a doctor.

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