Health care workers begin to get 2nd dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine

Emergency medicine physician gets booster shot, explains what to expect

ORLANDO, Fla. – Thursday marked day 21 since emergency medicine physician Dr. Rajiv Bahl received his first Pfizer vaccine, meaning it was time to get his second dose, a booster shot that will now make him and hundreds of other health care workers in Central Florida 95% immune to COVID-19.

“I wanted to be one of the first people to get it, to keep myself safe and continuing taking care of patients in the Central Florida area,” Bahl said.

Both Orlando Health and AdventHealth said they began administering the Pfizer booster shots this week to their health care workers.

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“I have no symptoms,” Bahl said about three hours after receiving the booster shot Thursday.

However, Bahl has decided to take the next couple of days off, after data from Pfizer’s clinical trials posted on the CDC shows “the frequency and severity of systemic adverse events were higher after dose 2 than dose 1”.

“I actually took several days off after this,” Bahl said. “If you are able to take that next day off, it’s definitely recommended.”

Recommended because, according to Bahl, who has also reviewed the data from the clinical trials, some of the side effects like fever, fatigue, headache and chills were stronger and more reported after the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

“People experience increased symptoms after the second dose, however, this is expected. This means the vaccine is working and it’s doing it’s part,” Bahl said. “When you get the vaccine, your body is ready to fight and once you get that second dose your body is going to have a large immuno-response, causing a greater amount of symptoms.”

The data given to the CDC from the Pfizer trials is broken up into two different age groups, 18-54 and those 55 or older.

According to the data, of those in the 18-54 age group 3.7% reported having a fever after the second dose, however, that number increased to 15.8% after the second dose. As for chills, 14% reported having them compared to 35.1% after the second shot. Those numbers increased for those reporting fatigue, headaches, new or worsening joint and muscle pain as well.


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