By Dr. Max Gomez

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – As millions of Americans continue to get vaccinated against COVID-19, reports of side effects are increasing.

While most are expected and short-lived, CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez tells us there is one reaction you should pay extra attention to.

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You’ve finally gotten a COVID vaccine. It will likely protect you from a potentially deadly disease, but as with any drug or medical procedure, the benefit often comes with side effects.

“I felt achy, feverish,” said Dr. Ala Stanford.

That’s very common, especially after the second dose of either the Moderna and Pfizer, but sometimes there’s a different reaction that could be worrisome.


“The following day, I did start to feel some stiffness on the left side of my neck and didn’t think too much about it. And by the evening, there was noticeable swelling in the area. And when I put a finger to it, you could feel small, something that felt like a small marble,” a man named John told Gomez.

A visit to the ER determined that John, who’s married to a CBS colleague, had a swollen lymph node, a common reaction after any vaccine, not just COVID.

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“It’s basically your immune system is reacting to the vaccine. And that’s a good sign that your body is processing it and your immune system is getting ready to fight whatever you’ve been vaccinated against,” said Dr. Purvi Parikh of NYU Langone Health.

Swollen lymph nodes have been reported in women getting mammograms after a vaccine. That’s concerning because that could be mistaken for cancer, so experts advise waiting at least a month after any vaccine to get a mammogram.

There are reports that this reaction, which can happen to men as well, is much more common after the second shot of the Moderna vaccine, but experts caution that those numbers may not be exact, since they haven’t been fully studied.

John still has the swollen lymph node, but that’s not making him rethink his decision to get vaccinated.

“Absolutely, I’d get the vaccine again. The peace of mind that comes with knowing that you have that added protection is really helpful,” he said.

The swollen lymph nodes are completely normal but may last a little longer than the fever and malaise after a vaccine. But if the node is still there after a week or more, get it checked out by a doctor.

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Dr. Max Gomez