COVID Vaccine Side Effects

History of COVID-19

At this point in history it would be difficult to find anyone unfamiliar with the term COVID-19. Originally referred to as the novel coronavirus, this term refers to the most recently discovered coronavirus belonging to a family of coronavirus diseases. The version was discovered in late 2019, which earned it the name COVID-19 with ‘CO’ standing for ‘corona, ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease.

In early January 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the novel coronavirus was discovered in Wuhan, China and by March 2020 WHO declares COVID-19 has reached pandemic status.  The first state to issue a statewide stay-at-home order was California in March of 2020 and by June 2020 the U.S. cases reach 2 million.

By July Moderna became the first company to enter large-scale human trials which hopeful positive results and by September Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer enter Phase 3 of their vaccine trials. In the same month the worldwide number of deaths due to COVID-19 surpasses 1 million. Come December 2020 all major vaccine companies have FDA backing for their COVID-19 vaccines.


As the COVID-19 virus continued to progress throughout 2020 pharmaceutical companies quickly began to react. Three of the top pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies rose to the occasion including Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Merck alongside Johnson & Johnson. Johnson & Johnson is a multinational corporation that has been present in the health and biotechnology realm for decades.

By December 2020 each of these top manufacturers had competed their vaccine development and trials. Vaccines are now officially available. The COVID-19 vaccine was a much anticipated and simultaneously criticized development. The Food and Drug Administration oversaw the development of these vaccines and then set a specific rollout schedule for who in the general public would have access to the vaccine and in what order.

While there are many similarities with each COVID-19 vaccine there are some important differences to note as well. This article will look at each individual and give a breakdown of the vaccine, age recommendations, dosage, common side effects, and mechanism of action for each.


Pfizer-Biotech was the first COVID-19 vaccine to receive the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) on December 11, 2020. The clinical trail showed the vaccine to be 95% effective in those without a history of prior infection. Demographics were also looked at and showed it worked equally regardless of age, race, gender, ethnicity, and body mass index (BMI). A small study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in March 2021 showed 90% efficacy among frontline workers 14 days after their second dose. This particular COVID-19 vaccine requires extreme cold temperatures, -94 degree Fahrenheit, for transport and storage, which can be difficult for some administration sites to meet.

Age: 12 years of age or older.

                Dosage: Two shots, 21 days apart.

Side Effects: Common side effects include the typical chills, pain, headache, tiredness and / or swelling and redness at the injection site. Each of these resolve without 24 to 48 hours of rest and hydration. Acetaminophen has also shown effective at mitigating these side effects. Anaphylaxis is a very rare side effect some individuals experience from mRNA vaccines. Therefore, the CDC requires all vaccine patients to wait at their vaccine site for 15 minutes to be monitored.

Mechanism of Action: This vaccine uses a relatively new technology known as messenger RNA (mRNA). Traditional vaccines introduce an inactive or weakened versions of the virus or germ into the body. With mRNA technology Pfizer-BioNTech delivers a small amount of genetic code from the COVID-19 virus to the body’s host cells. This basically gives cells directions for making copies of these for spike proteins. Spike proteins are the spikes that are seen jutting out from the sides of the coronavirus as seen in the media and publications. These are how the virus penetrates the host cell and infects it. This creates and immune response in the body which leads to antibodies and memory cells developing which provide protection if the body is infected with the actual virus in the future.

 Protection Against Variant: Research suggests there is strong protection against the B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 variants, research continues.


The FDA gave EUA clearance to Moderna a week after Pfizer-BioNTech’s approval, on December 18, 2020. This vaccine uses the same pharmacological technology as Pfizer-BioNTech with similar efficacy. A key difference between these two mRNA COVID-19 vaccines is the temperature requirements. Moderna can be shipped and stored at standard freezer temperatures for 30 days. Moderna’s vaccine saw slightly lower efficacy among the 65 and older population at 86%. Overall it is 94.1% effective in preventing COVID-19 in those with no history of prior infection. Among individuals of diverse backgrounds and demographics this vaccine had high efficacy. The CDC conducted a similar trial in March 2021 among frontline workers and found the Moderna vaccine to be 90% effective 14 days after the second dose.

Age: Adults age 18 and older.

               Dosage: Two shots, 28 days apart.

Side Effects: The side effects seen with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are similar to those from

the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The most common side effects include chills, pain, headache, tiredness and / or swelling and redness at the injection site. These are also expected and reported to resolved within 48 hours with rest, hydration, and medication if necessary. As with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, anaphylaxis is rare but possible and 15 minutes of monitoring post-vaccine is required. Anyone with a history of severe allergies should be monitored for 30 minutes post-vaccine administration.

Mechanism of Action: The same mechanism of action is used in the Moderna vaccine as in the

Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine; mRNA delivery. The body creates spike proteins in response and the immune system is then primed to recognize the virus in the future by attacking the spike protein found on the actual COVID-19 virus.

Protection Against Variant: Research suggests there is some protection against the B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 variants, research continues.

Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson received the most recent FDA EUA approval on February 27, 2021 due heavily to the fact that it provided a different mechanism of action; a carrier virus. In April the CDC and FDA paused the use of this vaccine after reports of rare, but serious, clotting issues arose. This was declared based on 6 cases of women ages 18 to 48 between six and 13 days post administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. At the end of April the pause was lifted and a warning label was required. This vaccine differs from the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines in that it can be stored under regular refrigerator temperatures and requires a single shot.

Age: Adults age 18 and older.

Dosage: One single shot (though there is potential for two doses, two months apart. This is still in clinical trial)

Side Effects: Common side effects are much the same including fatigue, fever, headache, and pain at the injection site. However, some consumers of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have reported myalgia, which is muscle pain in either a single muscle or group of muscles. The side effects are said to be milder and no allergic reactions or anaphylaxis have been reported.

Mechanism of Action: At this point the Johnson & Johnson is the only COVID-19 vaccine to use a carrier vaccine approach. Unlike Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna who use an mRNA vaccine, J&J uses an adenovirus. An adenovirus is a harmless virus that can cause the common cold and other illnesses when inactivated. It is used as a shell to carry the COVID-19 genetic coding which will create spike proteins leading to antibodies and memory cells for COVID-19 protection.

Protection Against Variant: Research suggests there is some protection against the B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 variants, research continues.

Public Opinion

There seemed to be some resistant and uncertain in the early days of the vaccine’s release. However, as months rolled on and more of the population received the vaccination the public opinion is showing an encouraging acceptance.

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) released a perspective piece in April 2021 stating that original vaccine doubters are now becoming more open to receiving the vaccine themselves. This review also showed that the majority of respondents that plan to get the vaccine are doing so to protect their family, themselves, and to prevent serious illness if they do contract COVID-19.

Those that are opting to not receive the vaccine are primarily basing their decision on uncertainty on vaccine reactions and concern over the rapid development and rollout of the vaccine.

Bottom Line

Regardless of vaccination status and opinion on whether or not to receive the vaccine it can’t be denied that COVID-19 numbers are dropping. There are two vaccinations that have yet to receive FDA approval, but are being used elsewhere in the world. These vaccines are the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Novavax. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine works like the Johnson & Johnson vaccine while Novavax uses a unique approach, a protein adjuvant, which strengthens the immune system’s response.  Time will reveal the true efficacy and safety of these vaccines in the general population and whether or not subsequent booster shots will be required.

How Craniosacral Therapy Can Help

Craniosacral Therapy can help alleviate some of the side effects of these vaccines by allowing the body it’s optimal capacity at restoring normal and healthy function.

About Dr. Kaminsky & Craniosacral Therapy

Having a Chiropractic background since the year 2000, Dr. Kaminsky offers many methods of treatment with an emphasis on Craniosacral Therapy and Pranic Healing in NYC.

Dr. Alex Kaminsky

Craniosacral Therapy (CST) is a method focusing on the link between the cranium (head) and sacrum (the second to last bone at the base of your spine), scientifically proven to work in unison to pump fluid throughout the body, an unknown disruption of which can cause many health issues.  The craniosacral mechanism pumps vital fluid called cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF) through the body and in a sense energetically lubricates the joints, tissues, organs; basically all cells of the body. It is the driving force of all your body’s systems of function; including maintaining the tone of your muscles.

The Central Nervous System (brain and spinal cord) are surrounded with CSF generating energetic rhythmic impulses of fluid delicately pumping throughout your body’s parts “breathing” the movement of life. This measurable rhythm of moving fluid, like the heart rhythm, pulse rhythm, breathing rhythm is the foundational “blueprint” and primary principle of our real-time state of our health. 

Compromises of our rhythmic movements of fluid flow correlates to the impulse restrictions in the system which the body is unable to overcome or self-correct. This is the reason why we have “dis-ease”, symptoms, conditions, basically all ailments.  This is where the skill of an experienced craniosacral therapist becomes valuable.  By placing his or her hands on your body the practitioner can feel, detect, evaluate, and facilitate correction of these restrictive arrhythmic impulses.

The craniosacral therapist helps your rhythm restore and renew in compromised areas allowing for healing to take place of sensory, motor, musculoskeletal, neurological disorders, symptoms, conditions and pain.  To learn more, visit the other pages on this website. Call to schedule your healing treatment with Dr. Kaminsky.