Answering COVID-19 vaccine questions: If you don’t have a reaction to the vaccine was it still effective?

Answering COVID vaccine questions: What is the data on the seasonal flu? How prevalent is it this year?

DETROIT – People still have a lot of questions about the COVID-19 vaccines. Local 4′s Dr. Frank McGeorge is working to answer as many as possible.

READ: More answers to COVID-19 questions

I recently read a post that if you have a reaction to the second dose, that means it is working as it should. If you do not have any reaction to the second dose, is the vaccine still effective?

Yes. Regardless of whether you have a reaction to your first or second dose it’s equally effective. The studies done to support the emergency use authorization included people with and without reactions to the vaccine. The overall efficacy was 94 to 95 percent for the vaccinated group as a whole.

READ: COVID-19 response team pushes to increase tracking of variants in US, discusses vaccinating seniors

What is the data on the seasonal flu? How prevalent is it this year? If the occurrence is down, could it be from coronavirus precautions?

Influenza activity is way down from prior years. It’s historically low for February. There are several probable reasons. First, more people were vaccinated against the flu this season than an average year. The second reason is that all the steps to mitigate spread of COVID-19 are also extremely effective against influenza.

After we stop the aggressive coronavirus precautions it’s likely that the flu will come back and could even be more problematic. The seasonal flu vaccine is developed based on strains that have recently circulated in other parts of the world. Flu activity is down everywhere so the best target for next year’s vaccine isn’t clear yet.

I know someone that when she got her second vaccine shot, was sick for four days with flu-like symptoms. Was this really from the vaccine, or is it possible she actually had the flu?

It was most likely a reaction to the vaccine. Especially since we have virtually no circulating influenza.

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Questions about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge


About the Authors:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.