If you have been vaccinated against monkeypox, you may know “the mass”.
Since the viral outbreak reached the United States this summer, many people have caught on social media to report side effects from the Jynneos vaccine, which can be injected intradermally (into the skin) or by the more traditional subcutaneous method (under the skin).
A temporary lump on your arm is normal for any vaccination, but “it’s especially expected with the Jynneos vaccine,” says Anthony Fortenberry, head nurse at Callen-Lorde Community Health Center. “It’s a super common side effect.”
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What causes the bump?
Induration, or an area of hardness at the injection site, is part of the body’s immune response to vaccines.
“The body recognizes viral material as foreign and sends immune cells to react against it,” says Dr. Aditya Chandorkar, assistant professor in the division of infectious diseases and international medicine at the University of Minnesota. “One of the consequences of this reaction (is) some degree of local reaction, leading to a lump/swelling.
“It is important to note that the presence or absence of swelling is not a marker of how well the person will be protected by the vaccine.”
Are there ways to treat it?
Some people have reported tenderness, itching, pain or bruises on or around the bump. “It usually resolves on its own,” Fortenberry says. “You want to avoid scratching it because it can cause further inflammation, delay healing and also cause infection, so you have to be careful. And if that causes pain, recommendations are over-the-counter Tylenol or Motrin” to help with inflammation.
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How long does it take to go away?
“Having a large, painless lump at the injection site is quite common,” says Chandorkar. “The original vaccine studies (Jynneos) reported some degree of local swelling in more than half of people who received the vaccine.” Anecdotally, “Most people reported that the lump disappeared after a week to two weeks. In almost all cases, the lump should go away on its own and people shouldn’t need to see their doctor.”
Can I still get the second dose if I have a lump?
If the bump is still present after more than two weeks, there is no cause for alarm. In fact, it’s “very common,” Fortenberry says, and it shouldn’t deter people from getting their second dose of Jynennos four weeks after their first.
“So many people have inflammation at the site for several weeks,” Fortenberry says. “For the inflammation to occur for up to four weeks, it’s such a long-awaited side effect that the clinical advice (at the vaccination sites) responds to it, asking the nurses to administer the vaccine on the other arm .”
What are the other reactions to the Jynneos vaccine?
“Other side effects include muscle aches, headaches, fatigue and nausea,” says Chandorkar. “Although fevers and chills are reported, they are not the norm. They are only seen in 1-10% of patients.”
The Jynneos vaccine produces side effects that “are comparable to most other vaccines”, he adds. “(They’re) generally much milder than what some have experienced with COVID-19 vaccines.”
When should you see a doctor?
You should talk to a healthcare professional if you experience fever or chills for more than one to two days after getting the Jynneos vaccine, says Dr. Peter Hotez, a vaccine expert at Baylor College of Medicine.
As for the lump, “if the pain becomes problematic, or if you see the redness getting worse or spreading, including streaks of redness, you should contact your doctor,” Hotez says.
Fortenberry points out that serious adverse reactions to the Jynneos vaccine are “extremely rare,” but you should call 911 immediately if you experience difficulty breathing, hives, swelling of your face or throat, rapid heartbeat, dizziness or weakness after being vaccinated.
Why is it important to get vaccinated?
Although side effects such as the lump may seem bothersome, they are much better than the alternative of contracting monkeypox, which is an extremely painful infection with symptoms that can last two to four weeks and require quarantine. .
“The best way to make sure you don’t get infected is to get vaccinated,” Hotez says. “Monkey pox, although rarely fatal, is a serious and debilitating infectious disease, and may require hospitalization.”
And if you’re concerned about potential side effects, don’t hesitate to discuss them with the medical staff at your vaccination site.
“They have all the necessary information to reassure and ensure that everyone has very clear expectations around the vaccine”, Fortenberry said. “We encourage everyone to complete their series of vaccines if they are eligible for a second dose. Don’t let side effects keep you from coming back for your second dose and getting full immunity. It’s very important to sin by excess of reaching out to a medical professional if you have any questions or concerns – that’s what we’re here for.
“You don’t have to deal with this on your own with the internet.”