What Reactions Can I Expect After the COVID-19 Vaccine?

Left up to the imagination, vaccine reactions sound scary, but most COVID-19 vaccine reactions are familiar to anyone who gets a regular flu shot. Sharon Wright, MD, MPH, Chief Infection Prevention Officer, BILH explains that 80-92% of people will develop at least one local symptom, like pain at the injection site. About 55-83% of people will develop at least one systemic symptom such as “fever, chills, headache, joint and muscle aches” after the first and second injection.

Importantly, these reactions come from “your immune system doing its job to build protections for you in the future,” said Dr. Wright.

Should you receive the COVID-19 vaccine if you have severe allergies? graphic

Is the vaccine safe for people with mild and severe allergies?

If you have ever had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient in a COVID-19 vaccine (Moderna vaccine ingredients and Pfizer vaccine ingredients), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you not get vaccinated. If you have had a severe allergic reaction to other vaccines or injectable therapies, you should ask your primary care provider if you should get a COVID-19 vaccine. Your doctor will help you decide if it is safe for you to get vaccinated.

The CDC recommends that people with a history of severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications—such as allergies to food, pets, venom, environmental, or latex—may still get vaccinated. People with a history of allergies to oral medications or a family history of severe allergic reactions, or who might have a milder allergy to vaccines may also still get vaccinated but would require a longer observation period.

If you have a severe allergic reaction after getting the first shot, you should not get the second shot. Your primary care provider may refer you to a specialist in allergy and immunology to provide more care or advice.

Please note that these are new vaccines and national guidance changes as we learn more.  Please refer to the BILH Patient Vaccination website and the CDC COVID Vaccination page for the most up-to-date information.

Does the vaccine impact fertility?

There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine causes infertility or difficulty becoming pregnant. Social media platforms have recently been overwhelmed with headlines that say the vaccine could cause infertility, but scientists across the globe say that these fears are not based in scientific reality. Currently, the COVID-19 vaccine is available to patients who are pregnant in the U.S. at all gestational ages, as well as people who are planning for or considering pregnancy in the future, and there are no warnings issued to people intending to conceive. If you have more questions about this, please contact your obstetrician or primary care provider to discuss your personal risks and vaccination.