Possible Side Effects After Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine
NOTICE: CDC now recommends that certain people are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster shot, including those who received Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccines. Get more information and read CDC’s media statement.
COVID-19 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. Some people have no side effects.
Serious side effects that could cause a long-term health problem are extremely unlikely following any vaccination, including COVID-19 vaccination. Vaccine monitoring has historically shown that side effects generally happen within six weeks of receiving a vaccine dose. For this reason, the FDA required each of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines to be studied for at least two months (eight weeks) after the final dose.
Common Side Effects
On the arm where you got the shot:
Throughout the rest of your body:
- Muscle pain
If you had a severe or immediate allergic reaction after getting the first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, you should not get a second dose of either of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. Learn about getting a different type of vaccine after an allergic reaction.
Talk to your doctor about taking over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, or antihistamines, 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.
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.
If You Received a Second Shot
Side effects after your second shot may be more intense than the ones you experienced after your first shot. These side effects are normal signs that your body is building protection and should go away within a few days.
If You Received a Booster Shot
Side effects people report after getting a booster shot are similar to side effects after the 2-shot series. The most common side effects after a booster shot are fatigue and pain at the injection site and overall, most side effects were mild to moderate. Like the 2-shot primary series, serious side effects are rare, but may occur.
When to Call the Doctor
In most cases, discomfort from pain or fever is a normal sign that your body is building protection. Contact your doctor or healthcare provider:
- If the redness or tenderness where you got the shot gets worse 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.
- Side effects can affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.
- The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine and Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine both need 2 shots in order to get the most protection. You should 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 it.
- COVID-19 vaccine booster shots are recommended for some Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine recipients who completed their initial series at least 6 months ago.
- You only need 1 shot of the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen (J&J/Janssen) COVID-19 Vaccine to get the most protection. Learn more about the different COVID-19 vaccines.
- It takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, or two weeks after the single-dose J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. You should keep using all the tools available to protect yourself and others until you are fully vaccinated.
- Millions of people have received COVID-19 vaccines, and no long-term side effects have been detected.
- CDC continues to closely monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. If scientists find a connection between a safety issue and a vaccine, FDA and the vaccine manufacturer will work toward an appropriate solution to address the specific safety concern (for example, a problem with a specific lot, a manufacturing issue or the vaccine itself).
If you are fully vaccinated, you can participate in many of the activities that you did prior to the pandemic. Learn more about what you can do when you have been fully vaccinated.
If you would like to report an adverse event, side effect or reaction from the COVID-19 vaccine, please use the following link: https://vaers.hhs.gov/external icon