These are the side effects to expect from omicron-targeted COVID booster shots

COVID-19 vaccine

The omicron-targeted COVID-19 booster shots have arrived at pharmacies across the country.AP File Photo/Charles Krupa

The omicron-targeted COVID-19 booster shots have arrived at pharmacies across the country and in New Jersey.

You’re probably wondering if there are side effects from these shots and if the side effects differ from those of earlier boosters and COVID-19 vaccinations.

Here’s what you need to know.

The retooled shots from Moderna and Pfizer are bivalent, meaning they target the initial COVID-19 virus and the omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants of the virus.

Health experts say that side effects should not differ too much from the initial vaccines, even though there are essentially “two vaccines in one shot.”

“We just don’t have any data on this [yet], essentially giving two vaccines in one shot — but biologically, I just wouldn’t expect the side effects, severity or the safety profile of the shots to be different from the current mRNA vaccines and boosters,” Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and member of an independent advisory group to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, told CNBC Make It.

Although there is no official data on side effects specifically regarding the BA.4 and BA.5 upgraded COVID-19, there is clinical trial data on a booster targeting an earlier strain of omicron called BA.1.

The following side effects were the most common from the clinical trial targeting BA.1, according to the American Medical Association:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle and joint aches
  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever

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Katherine Rodriguez can be reached at krodriguez@njadvancemedia.com. Have a tip? Tell us at nj.com/tips.

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