Some side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine are normal. At the time of your vaccination, you will be monitored for a period of time in case of a severe reaction (anaphylaxis), which is extremely rare.
For anyone receiving the vaccine, there are some common side effects that may last for a few days. These side effects differ from allergic reactions because they indicate that your body is having an appropriate immune response. Symptoms of normal vaccine side effects include pain or swelling at the vaccination site, a fever, chills, tiredness, or headache. All of these symptoms are normal and show that your immune system is working with the vaccine to build protection against COVID-19.
Tips to reduce discomfort at injection site after your COVID-19 vaccination:
- Apply a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the area
- Gently use or exercise your arm
Tips to reduce discomfort from fever, headache, chills, and muscle fatigue/pain after your COVID-19 vaccination:
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Dress lightly
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, unless your physician has told you to avoid these types of medications due to a health condition
- We do not recommend taking an over-the-counter pain reliever BEFORE your vaccine to try to prevent side effects because this lessens your vaccine response. It is ok to use an over-the-counter pain reliever AFTER your vaccination if side effects develop.
Follow up with your doctor or healthcare provider if you have any of the following:
- Redness or tenderness at the injection site for more than three days
- A fever of 102 or higher for 24 hours or a fever of 101 for 48 hours
- Severe headache or dizziness
- Muscle or joint fatigue/pain for more than seven days
- Body chills for more than 48 hours
- Vomiting multiple times a day or diarrhea that lasts for more than 48 hours
- Swollen lymph nodes for more than two weeks
If you think you might be having a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) after leaving the vaccine clinic, seek immediate medical care by calling 9-1-1. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and rare severe allergic reactions.