New app could be a major tool in tracking reactions to COVID-19 vaccines

ATLANTA — An app you can download to your smartphone is helping people who have received their COVID-19 vaccine to inform the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about their symptoms. The CDC, in turn, can monitor the safety of the vaccine in real time.

It’s called V-safe. You can download it for free. It’s very user friendly. And as soon as you get your first shot, you will start receiving text messages from the CDC.

“So the second dose of Moderna I got last week on Friday, Jan. 29, and I felt fine,” said Dr. Anand Mehta, with Stand Up Family Medicine in Cobb County.

But it didn’t take long for him to start having a reaction after getting the second dose of the vaccine.

“As I went to bed that night, I started getting the chills that were significant, so I took some Tylenol to help me out with them. I drank a lot water and needed to hydrate myself pretty well. As the night went on, I woke up, not having chills, but the opposite. Started feeling a little warm,” Mehta said.

“It sounded like you had the flu?” Channel 2′s Michael Seiden asked Mehta.

“It’s very, very similar to the flu,” Mehta said.

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The doctor said reactions to the vaccine are now pretty common, telling Seiden that a lot of his patients have experienced similar symptoms.

So he decided to go on to the Nextdoor app and posted about V-safe.

“I wanted to get the word out to our neighbors and to our patients because there’s a lot of confusion on who to contact when you’re having symptoms,” Mehta said.

The CDC stated V-safe is a smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

By using the app, you can quickly tell the CDC if you are experiencing any side effects after getting the vaccine and, depending on your answers, someone from the CDC may call and check on you.

“It was a good way of putting your symptoms out there so that vaccine can get better, and we can have more awareness of how the vaccine is reacting with others,” Mehta said.

Although you can’t book appointments for the vaccine on there, the app will remind you when you are due for your second dose.

And with new confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants in Georgia, Mehta told Seiden that we all need to be in this together if we’re going to defeat this virus.

“The more people that go on this website and input their information is just going to give us a better idea of population health and how well we are controlling this virus, especially with the new strains coming out,” Mehta said.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the V-safe app.