The Latest on the COVID-19 Vaccine

*The Valley Health System Hospitals Are Not Community Vaccination Sites

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As Nevada continues to roll out vaccinations for our communities, the healthcare professionals of The Valley Health System wish to share some key information about what to expect, when to call your healthcare provider and when a reaction to the vaccine might warrant a trip to the emergency department.

"We are fully supportive of the vaccination efforts against COVID-19," said Dan McBride, MD, Chief Medical Officer for The Valley Health System. "We know that our community has residents with other medical conditions that might impact their decision to take the vaccine, or need to seek medical attention based on side effects from the vaccine."

After receiving the vaccine at a community location site, recipients will be monitored for a short period of time for side effects.

Possible Side Effects

According to the FDA, reported side effects include:

  • Injection site reactions: pain, tenderness and swelling of the lymph nodes in the same arm of the injection, swelling (hardness), and redness
  • General side effects: fatigue, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, chills, nausea and vomiting, and fever
  • Feeling unwell, swollen lymph nodes (Pfizer vaccine)

Moderna Vaccine Fact Sheet →
Pfizer Fact Sheet →

When to Seek Medical Attention

  • If someone experiences side effects that continue to bother the recipient or do not go away, they should contact their healthcare provider.
  • If someone is experiencing a severe allergic reaction (below) after receiving the vaccine, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest hospital.

Severe Allergic Reactions

A severe allergic reaction typically occurs within a few minutes to one hour, according to the FDA’s FAQ on the vaccines. Call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest ER if someone who has the vaccine experiences signs of a severe reaction, including:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of the face and throat
  • A fast heartbeat
  • A bad rash all over the body
  • Dizziness and weakness

For everyone’s safety, the person experiencing the severe reactions should not drive himself/herself to the hospital.

These may not be all the possible side effects of the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines. Serious and unexpected side effects may occur. Both vaccines are still being studied in clinical trials.

Helpful Tips and Vaccine Ingredients

  • Speak with your physician(s) if you are not sure if you should receive the vaccine.
  • Review the list of ingredients of each vaccine to determine if you have an allergy to any ingredient.
  • The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine includes the following ingredients: mRNA, lipids ((4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate), 2 [(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide, 1,2-Distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine, and cholesterol), potassium chloride, monobasic potassium phosphate, sodium chloride, dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate, and sucrose.
  • The Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine contains the following ingredients: messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA), lipids (SM-102, polyethylene glycol [PEG] 2000 dimyristoyl glycerol [DMG], cholesterol, and 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine [DSPC]), tromethamine, tromethamine hydrochloride, acetic acid, sodium acetate, and sucrose.

Who Should Not Get a Vaccine

The FDA says people should not get the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine if they:

  • Had a severe allergic reaction after a previous dose of the specific vaccine.
  • Had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient of the specific vaccine.

In General, What Should You Tell Your Vaccine Provider?

Tell your vaccination provider about all your medical conditions, including if you:

  • Have any allergies
  • Have a fever
  • Have a bleeding disorder or are on a blood thinner
  • Are immunocompromised or are on a medicine that affects your immune system
  • Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding
  • Have received another COVID-19 vaccine

Information for this page was taken from the FDA fact sheets for caregivers and recipients of each vaccine, dated December 2020.
Moderna: https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/moderna-covid-19-vaccine
Pfizer: https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/pfizer-biontech-covid-19-vaccine