Vaccine side effects prompting sick calls

BOSTON — As the state’s vaccine rollout continues, some health care workers are feeling the side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine, according to hospitals and a nurses union who spoke with Boston 25 News.

“Some people just don’t feel quite like their best day,” said Terry Hudson-Jinks, MSN, Chief Nursing Officer for Tufts Medical Center.

The side effects were anticipated based on information provided by vaccine manufacturers, according to Hudson-Jinks, and administrators planned for the impact on staffing.

“Our staff have been amazing people have already been picking up extra time,” Hudson-Jinks added.

Vaccine side effects mirror flu symptoms such as fever, chills, and joint pain.

The number of sick calls related to the second dose of vaccine is considered small at Tufts, as well as Lowell General Hospital.

Trials from Pfizer and Moderna which manufacture the two approved COVID-19 vaccines, showed that some people could feel sick temporarily following the second dose, according to a spokesperson for Lowell General Hospital.

“We communicated to employees that this could happen and suggested they consider getting their shot before an upcoming day off,” aid Will Courtney, a spokesperson for Lowell General Hospital.

About 60% of the staff at South Shore Hospital have been vaccinated for COVID-19, only about two percent have called out sick since getting the second dose, according to the hospital. The majority of the workers who have called out sick related to vaccinations have returned within 24 hours, a spokesperson said.

“Any way you look at it it’s far better than getting COVID,” said Katie Murphy, President of the Massachusetts Nurses Association which represents 20,000 professionals.

If flu-like symptoms last more than a few days, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends seeing a doctor. If redness or tenderness increases after 24 hours, the CDC also recommends notifying a doctor.

A spokesperson for UMass Memorial said there have been no issues with vaccinations for the hospital, a message left for Mass General Brigham was not returned.

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