Second Dose of COVID Vaccine Could Provide More ‘Intense' Symptoms, Ezike Says

"This is a safe and effective vaccine that's gonna give us our normal lives back"

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Illinois' top doctor said Tuesday that the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine could provide recipients with more "intense" symptoms.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said that with the second dose of the coronavirus vaccine, some people have experienced "a more intense reaction."

"People who said, 'I didn't feel anything on the first,' some of them are saying, 'Yeah, I felt some headache. I felt more pain,'" Ezike said. "So there is a more robust immune response that is manifest in that second dose"

Ezike added that people should not be alarmed when individuals have reported more symptoms with the second shot, and should know the reactions are expected.

Ezike received her coronavirus vaccination Tuesday at noon at North Riverside Health Center, sending a message to Illinois residents that the vaccine is safe and effective.

In her remarks before receiving the vaccination, she said her choice to take the vaccine was "deeply personal" and that though many survive the coronavirus, others have not experienced the same outcome.

"I don't want to gamble with my life, and I don't want anyone else to gamble with theirs," Ezike said.

She said the pandemic became personal for her specifically when her husband collapsed at the dinner table in May and was diagnosed with an unnamed health condition, making him at higher risk of having a severe reaction to the virus.

"It became intensely personal to me then, that this virus preys and can prey on people with pre-existing medical conditions," Ezike said. "Like the one my husband was diagnosed with."

Ezike added that she is also receiving the vaccine for her four children who have "struggled and suffered in common and unique ways" as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

She said after crying with her mother during her father's burial in February, she can't wait to hold her mother again when they are vaccinated. Ezike said she is also getting the vaccine for "team IDPH," who she said has worked to ensure the health and safety of all Illinoisans during the pandemic.

After officially receiving the vaccine, the crowd gathered around Illinois' top doctor gave a round of applause and cheers.

"I just I want this for everyone and I just want you to know, this is a safe and effective vaccine that's gonna give us our normal lives back," Ezike said.

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