Would you share a few moments of your time if you knew it might help doctors ease the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?
Teshamae Monteith, M.D., hopes so. Dr. Monteith is a neurologist specializing in headache medicine at the University of Miami Health System’s Neurology Department. She invites the public to participate in a short anonymous survey studying the side effects associated with the vaccine.
“We’re interested in learning more about the side effects and which ones are associated with which vaccine. Real-world (experience) is different from clinical trials, so by learning more, maybe we can mitigate the symptoms and help with adherence,” says Dr. Monteith. Receiving both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines is necessary for complete immunity. However, in late April, the CDC reported that more than five million people had not returned for their scheduled second dose.
Some health experts believe many did not return out of concern about potential side effects.
The UHealth study team hopes to accomplish several goals with their survey:
- Identify potential vaccine-related side effects, such as headache and other symptoms
- Study the impact of mood and impact of symptoms on quality of life and ability to function
- Use the findings of this study to help inform the use and safety of the vaccine
As of this writing, more than two million COVID-19 shots are given in the U.S. every day.
Keeping up that pace is essential to save lives and get back to normal, says Dr. Monteith. “I tell patients, ‘It’s our public health duty to get vaccinated. Vaccines save lives.’ My patients are already predisposed to headaches, and we know some people do get headaches after vaccination, but we don’t know who will get them.”
“COVID-19 also causes headaches, which can be severe, and other long-term effects that are concerning. Even though this pandemic seems to be improving, we reached a point like this last summer (before cases spiked again), so we have to continue pushing for vaccinations.”
The other message Dr. Monteith shares among her patients and the public?
“Please participate in our survey as soon as possible after getting vaccinated. Your participation could guide future treatment.”
To learn more about the survey, please review the Headache Division web page or email Joshua Moll.
The anonymous survey takes just a few minutes to complete. To participate in the survey, use this link to access the first page of the survey.
Nancy Moreland is a regular contributor to UMiami Health News. She has written for several major health care systems and the CDC. Her writing also appears in the Chicago Tribune and U.S. News & World Report.