What side effects can you expect with a bivalent COVID-19 booster?

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) — With more pharmacies offering the new COVID-19 booster, many people have questions about vaccines, including whether side effects will be similar to previous vaccines or boosters.

At We Care Pharmacy in Apex, pharmacist Amrish Patel said he’s seen quite a high demand for bivalent boosters.

“Initially, we were probably doing about 30 to 40 to 50 a day,” he said.

He said he hadn’t heard any complaints from customers about side effects from the Pfizer vaccine, which his pharmacy dispensed.

“We’ve been doing this for about 10-12 days now, and no one has called me about anything yet,” he said. “Basically, people are used to it now.”

He said it was a big change from when the original COVID-19 vaccines became available and he had received many complaints about side effects.

He doesn’t know if the side effects are actually less pronounced with this booster or if people are just waiting for them.

Dr. Pia MacDonald, infectious disease epidemiologist at RTI International, said she expects side effects to be similar to other boosters. “As we saw earlier, some people are more affected than others by the vaccine,” she said.

Although the new boosters help your body fight two different variants of the coronavirus, the total dose is the same as the previous boosters.

“Half is the old version, and the other half is the new version; the ingredients are all the same minus the addition of the new piece of mRNA that protects against BA.4 and 5,” MacDonald said.

Tiffany Edwards stopped by We Care Pharmacy for her encore. She said she had no side effects with her other COVID-19 injections.

“I didn’t have anything important. I was really, really lucky,” she said.

She also decided to get a flu shot.

Patel said it was common.

“The majority of people get both injections at the same time.”

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