Here, we explain side effects of the Pfizer booster vaccine – with a look at how they impact menstrual cycles
At the moment, richer countries across the world are majority double-vaccinated. In Israel, a fourth dose of booster is even being administered.
Some countries remain in the single digits of vaccination, while dealing with simultaneous other diseases and humanitarian crises. These countries will probably not be majority vaccinated until atleast 2023.
An in-depth investigation found that 120 factories across Latin America, Asia and Africa are capable of producing mRNA vaccines. But they remain legally banned from knowing the recipe, due to pharmaceutical companies seeking profit on their intellectual property.
The Pfizer booster is having similar side effects to a second dose of the vaccine.
What are the common side effects of the booster?
Some of the most common side effects of the Pfizer vaccine include:
- Tenderness, swelling and/or redness where the injection has been administered
- Muscle ache
- Feeling tired (fatigue)
- Fever (temperature above 37.8°C)
Around 1 in 10 people will experience these side effects, which prove that the vaccine is working to create antibodies.
What about more uncommon side effects?
The more uncommon side effects that 1 in 100 people may experience include enlarged lymph nodes that can last up to 2 weeks, but this can be expected a few days after receiving the vaccine as a sign of the immune system’s response.
A rare side effect that can occur and affects around 1 in 1,000 people may be temporary one-sided facial drooping. Some may also suffer from an allergic reaction, but the data on this is unknown as no cases have been reported.
These side effects are not life-threatening and should simply settle on their own.
Pfizer booster can temporarily impact menstrual cycle
A huge survey of 23,754 menstrual cycles, looking at Moderna and Pfizer booster shots, found no serious or lasting change.
The research, published in Obstetrics & Gynecology, finds that participants had a cycle length can change by only 1 day. This apparently happens only to those who are vaccinated with two mRNA doses, such as Pfizer or Moderna, within one of their cycles.
If the two doses of mRNA vaccines are “timed correctly”, they can temporarily adjust the timeframe for the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis – also more commonly known as the delicate balance of hormones which allow the human body to produce lining for the womb and expel it, once a month.
This team also disproved that the vaccine creates fertility issues.
However, the authors pointed out that COVID-19 has devastating effects on the same delicate hormones. They say that infection with the virus “could be catastrophic to hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis function, sometimes permanently.”
Does the Pfizer booster make a huge difference in protection?
The analysis, published in The Lancet, finds that a third dose can decrease COVID death risk by 81%, decrease hospitalisation rates by 93%, and lower risk of severe COVID by 92%.
These percentages are calculated in comparison to double-vaccinated individuals, whose vaccine protection appears to stop after five months. The effect of a third dose is similar across gender, age and even individuals with comorbidities like diabetes or obesity – meaning that it works across the board.
Can the booster vaccine stand up to Omicron?
So far, it seems like the third dose keeps Omicron from creating severe infection. According to new data by scientists at BioNTech, a third booster gives a person enough protection.
Since the virus has heavily mutated after it left Wuhan, the original form of the virus is what most vaccine-makers used as a template. So, the concern is if the existing vaccines can recognise and stop the much-changed version we have today, whether Omicron or Delta, or a future iteration.
The team found that a triple-hit of Pfizer was able to hold “23-fold increased neutralising titers.”
In other words, the third dose creates the equivalent of two Pfizer doses against the original form of the virus.
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