Possible Side Effects After Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine
What You Need to Know
- Side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine can vary from person to person.
- Some people experience a little discomfort and can continue to go about their day. Others have side effects that affect their ability to do daily activities.
- Side effects generally go away in a few days.
- Even if you don’t experience any side effects, your body is building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19.
- Adverse events (serious health problems) are rare but can cause long-term health problems. They usually happen within six weeks of getting a vaccine.
Common Side Effects
Side effects after a COVID-19 vaccination tend to be mild, temporary, and like those experienced after routine vaccinations. They can vary across different age groups.
Common side effects can include:
- Pain on the leg or arm where the shot was given
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Irritability or crying
- Loss of appetite
Side effects are more common after the second dose and can include:
- Pain, swelling, and redness on the arm where the shot was given
- Muscle or joint pain
- Swollen lymph nodes
On the arm where you got the shot:
Throughout the rest of your body:
- Muscle pain
After a second shot or booster
Reactions reported after getting a booster shot are similar to those after the two-dose or single-dose primary shots. Most side effects were mild to moderate.
The most commonly reported side effects were:
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Pain at the injection site
To relieve pain or swelling on the arm where you got the shot:
- Apply a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the area.
- Use or keep moving your arm.
- Also, if possible, get some rest.
To reduce discomfort from fever:
- Drink plenty of fluids,
- Dress in comfortable clothes,
- Talk to your doctor about taking over-the-counter (OTC) medicine, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin (only for people ages 18 years or older), or antihistamines.
- It is not recommended to take these medicines before vaccination to try to prevent side effects as it is not known how OTC medicines might affect how well the vaccine works.
Ask your child’s healthcare provider for advice on using a non-aspirin pain reliever and learn about other steps you can take at home to comfort your child after vaccination.
Call a doctor or healthcare provider about a side effect if:
- Redness or tenderness where the shot was given gets worse after 24 hours
- Side effects are worrying or do not seem to be going away after a few days
Adverse Events after COVID-19 Vaccination Are Rare
Adverse events, including severe allergic reactions, after COVID-19 vaccination are rare but can happen. For this reason, everyone who receives a COVID-19 vaccine is monitored by their vaccination provider for at least 15 minutes.
After leaving a vaccination provider site, if you think you or your child might be having a severe allergic reaction, seek immediate medical care by calling 911.
Learn more about what you can do if you have an allergic reaction.
Reporting Side Effects and Adverse Events
Use v-safe or the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) to report your side effects:
- V-safe, a smartphone-based tool, provides quick and confidential health check-ins via text messages and web surveys. It does this so you can quickly and easily share with CDC how you or your child feel after getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
- Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System can be used by you or your healthcare provider to report a side effect, adverse event, or reaction from COVID-19 vaccine.
- When do you need to schedule your next shot?
- Do you or your child need to get a booster?
- Can you get a different vaccine product after your 1st dose?