By Christina Hager

BOSTON (CBS) – The WBZ I-Team has found that hundreds of people who have gotten Covid-19 vaccinations in Massachusetts have reported feeling side effects. Doctors say it’s a good idea to be aware of how you might feel in the days after, and the feedback varies widely.

“No real side effects. No real big pain,” said Elizabeth Bourgault after her shot at the Natick mass vaccination site. “You can see the end of the tunnel,” she said.

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Walpole Police Chief John Carmichael shared a very different experience with the I-Team. He got a shot about a month after he had been sick with COVID-19. “I felt great the first day, and then by the second day it was like I got the fever and the chills, headache,” Carmichael said.

A couple days later, as he was driving home, it hit him hard. “The pain in my lymph nodes was radiating down my arm, it was radiating into my chest, and it was something I’ve never felt before, so I actually pulled into the fire department,” Carmichael said. He ended up in an ambulance.

“In people who’ve had COVID-19, their first shot is boosting their immune response that’s already there from having had the disease,” explained Dr. Paul Sax, director of the Infectious Diseases Clinic at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “Younger people are getting more side effects than older people, but not always, and we’ve seen some younger people have the vaccine do great without any side effects.”

CDC records the I-Team analyzed show 19,873 Americans reporting side effects after COVID-19 vaccinations. There were slightly more from Pfizer, at 64% and 36% were from Moderna. In Massachusetts, 540 people reported side effects, including 97 emergency room visits and 71 hospitalizations. The records show the vast majority were women, at 81%.

Government researchers do not verify the reports in the CDC data, nor do they draw conclusions about whether symptoms were definitely caused by vaccines. The CDC does use the data to look for side effect patterns to be studied further.

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Sue Troy, who lives in New Hampstead, New Hampshire, said she regretted not keeping track of her husband before his fever landed him in the E.R. “He was bright red, and I touched his forehead. We took the temperature, and it was 105.5.”

“This is something we need to recognize happens regularly, and give people the chance not only to get the vaccine, but also to recover from it afterwards,” said Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu.

She has proposed paid sick leave for all city employees getting vaccinated, and urges private companies to do the same. “We’re in a race against different variants, and we need to make sure that we’re getting people in as soon as possible, and we’re removing any barriers,” she said.

It’s important to note all of those interviewed for this report had no regrets, but just wish they’d been better prepared. “People just need to be aware of it,” said Sue Troy.

Chief Carmichael said he would do it again. “You know, when you weigh the whole thing, getting that vaccine is critical,” he said.

“Side effects from the vaccine are way less severe than getting COVID-19 itself,” said Dr. Sax.

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Visit Mass.Gov/CovidVaccine to find out when you’re eligible and to book an appointment.

Christina Hager