Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines

Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines

Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine: CDC and FDA have recommended a pause in the use of Johnson & Johnson’s J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine in the United States out of an abundance of caution, effective Tuesday, April 13. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will hold its second emergency meeting to discuss J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine on April 23, 2021. People who have received the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine within the past three weeks who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath should seek medical care right away.

What you need to know
  • COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.
  • Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history.
  • CDC recommends you get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you are eligible.

Millions of people have safely received a COVID-19 vaccine

Over 189 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through April 12, 2021.

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials. The vaccines met FDA’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization (EUA). Learn more about EUAs in this videoexternal icon.

Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines, and these vaccines will undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. This monitoring includes using both established and new safety monitoring systems to make sure that COVID-19 vaccines are safe.

Results are reassuring

Results from monitoring efforts are reassuring. Some people have no side effects. Others have reported common side effects after COVID-19 vaccination like

  • swelling, redness and pain at injection site,
  • fever,
  • headache,
  • tiredness,
  • muscle pain,
  • chills,
  • and nausea.

These reactions are common. A small number of people have had a severe allergic reaction (called “anaphylaxis”) after vaccination, but this is extremely rare. If this occurs, vaccination providers have medicines available to effectively and immediately treat the reaction.

After you get a COVID-19 vaccine, you will be asked to stay for 15–30 minutes so you can be observed in case you have a severe allergic reaction and provided treatment in the rare case it is needed.

Long-term side effects are unlikely

Serious side effects that would cause a long-term health problem are extremely unlikely following COVID-19 vaccination. Long-term side effects following any vaccination are extremely rare. Vaccine monitoring has historically shown that if side effects are going to happen, they generally happen within six weeks of receiving a vaccine dose. For this reason, the Food and Drug Administration required each of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines to be studied for at least two months (eight weeks) after the final dose.  Millions of people have received COVID-19 vaccines, and no long-term side effects have been detected. CDC continues to closely monitor 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).

Help protect yourself and others by getting vaccinated

COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC recommendations on wearing masks and social distancing are the best ways to protect against COVID-19 illness. CDC recommends you get vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as you are eligible.

CDC, FDA, and other federal partners will continue to monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines as they continue to become more broadly used in the population.

Have you experienced a side effect following COVID-19 vaccination?

You can report it to VAERSexternal icon.

Anaphylaxis after COVID-19 vaccination is rare. If this occurs, vaccination providers can effectively and immediately treat the reaction.

To date, VAERS has not detected patterns in cause of death that would indicate a safety problem with COVID-19 vaccines.