Health officials urging seniors to get 2nd vaccine dose amid fears of side effects 

County health officials say some long-term care facility residents are worried about taking the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine because of the potential for side effects. They're now trying to get the message out that it's important and safe to take both doses. 

Seminole County Medical Director Dr. Todd Husty says symptoms can range from headaches, body aches, and a fever, but that it shouldn't last more than 24 hours. He says not everyone will experience these symptoms and that it is vital for seniors to complete the second dose. 

"We're hearing from some of the long term care facilities that some of their residents are afraid to take the second dose," said Dr. Husty. "The largest death rate is from people in long-term care facilities. Don't balk at taking the second dose because you're afraid of some side effects. Be afraid of getting COVID-19 and dying. The little side effects they're not deadly at all."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people get the second shot even if they've had side effects after the first one unless their doctor advises otherwise. 

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Kristen Knapp with the Florida Health Care Association said their seniors in long term care facilities have been eager and excited to get the vaccine. They have been working to educate those in long-term care facilities and their families about the vaccines' safety and effectiveness. 

"The vaccine is not mandated, but it is important that we arm them with information so they can make informed decisions," said Knapp. 

She said, as more people get the second dose, others will feel more comfortable. 

"As residents see their friends or family members getting their second dose, getting their first dose, and they see they're okay," said Knapp. "I think you'll see this as a more common situation."

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