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COVID-19 vaccine recipients report no problems at LVHN

Since Dec. 17, Lehigh Valley Health Network has administered more than 1,000 COVID-19 vaccinations to front-line, high-risk workers and plans to vaccinate about 6,000 more in the coming days.

Of those who received a vaccination, only three people reported side effects as of Dec. 22.

One person had redness and swelling at the injection site. One had an itchy throat. The other had a fever. Symptoms for each person subsided quickly. Of the colleagues who had known severe allergies, no side effects were reported.

“Except for a sore arm at the injection site, much like how I felt when I got the flu shot, it is business as usual today,” said Jennifer Rovella, DO, LVPG Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, adding, “I feel great knowing that this is the beginning to the end of the pandemic.”

Chantal Branco, RN, LVHN Patient Care Services, the first person in the region and at LVHN to receive the Pfizer authorized vaccine had a similar reaction: “I’m feeling great today. My left arm is a little sore but nothing that is keeping me from my normal daily activities.”

Glenn Thompson, RN, LVHN Emergency Services, said that getting the shot didn’t limit him in any way: “About 24 hours after getting the vaccine, I have no issues besides a slightly sore arm at the injection site.”

Marcelo Gareca, MD, LVPG Infectious Diseases, even went a bit further in describing that he was not impacted by the vaccine: “I am feeling fine. My arm is no sorer than when I get the flu shot. It did not stop me from doing yoga at home last night, working yesterday and today, or shoveling snow this morning.”

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the most commonly reported side effects are pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain and fever. These mild symptoms usually go away within a day or two. The symptoms are far milder than what most people experience when they are sick with COVID-19. Medical officials say the vaccine cannot cause a COVID-19 infection.

While the shot itself cannot make you contagious, it is important for everyone to continue wearing a face mask.

Officials say it is unclear at this point if the vaccine prevents people from becoming infected with COVID-19 or if it prevents feeling sick when infected. The virus can still be transmitted after a vaccine shot is received.