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What to Expect After Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine

Vaccination will help protect you from getting COVID-19. You may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.

Common Side Effects

On your arm where you got the shot:

  •  Pain

  • Swelling

Throughout the rest of your body:

  • Fever

  • Chills

  • Tiredness

  • Headache

Helpful Tips

If you have pain or discomfort, talk to your doctor about taking over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen, aspirin, antihistamines, or acetaminophen, for any pain and discomfort you may experience after getting vaccinated. You can take these medications to relieve post-vaccination side effects if you have no other medical reasons that prevent you from taking these medications normally. It is not recommended you take these medicines before vaccination for the purpose of trying to prevent side effects, because it is not known how these medications may impact how well the vaccine works.

To reduce pain and discomfort where you got the shot:

  • Apply a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the area

  • Use or exercise your arm

To reduce discomfort from fever:

  • Drink plenty of fluids

  • Dress lightly

When to call the doctor

In most cases, discomfort from fever or pain is normal. Contact you doctor or healthcare provider:

  • If the redness or tenderness where you got the shot increases after 24 hours

  • If your side effects are worrying you or do not seem to be going away after a few days

If you get a COVID-19 vaccine and you think you might be having a severe allergic reaction after leaving the vaccination site, seek immediate medical care by calling 911. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and rare severe allergic reactions.

Remember

  • Side effects can affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.

  • With most COVID-19 vaccines, you will need 2 shots in order for them to work. Get the second shot even if you have side effects after the first shot, unless a vaccination provider or your doctor tells you not to get a second shot.

  • It takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines that require 2 shots may not protect you until a week or two after your second shot.

It’s important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic as we learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions. Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others, stay at least 6 feet away from others, avoid crowds, avoid poorly ventilated spaces, and wash your hands often.​​