The COVID-19 vaccine can come with side effects.
These side effects are typically mild and go away within a few days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And some people do not experience any side effects at all.
While there is a possibility of serious severe side effects that could cause long-term health problems, the CDC says they are unlikely to follow any vaccination.
Vaccine monitoring has shown that side effects generally happen within six weeks of receiving a vaccine dose, including the COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC says.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires each authorized COVID-19 vaccine – Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson – to be studied for at least two months, or eight weeks, after the final dose.
Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses to be fully vaccinated, and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one.
You're considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the second shot of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and two weeks after the first dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?
There are two common areas that experience side effects after receiving the vaccine: on your arm and throughout the rest of your body.
On your arm, it is common to feel pain, redness and swelling post-vaccine. The best way to combat that discomfort is to use and exercise your arm, and apply a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the area.
Full body symptoms can include:
- Muscle pain.
The CDC recommends drinking plenty of fluids and dress lightly to help if you have a fever. Over-the-counter medicines, including ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, or antihistamines can be taken for pain and discomfort post-vaccine, if you have no other medical reason that would prevent you from taking those medications.
The CDC does not recommend taking those medicines before receiving a vaccine to prevent side effects.
Is it normal to have worse side effects after the second dose?
Side effects may be more intense after your second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, which require two doses. This is normal, and shows your immune system is building protection against COVID-19, the CDC says.
The symptoms will likely go away over the next few days.
The CDC recommends calling a doctor or health care provider if the redness or tenderness on your arm where you got the shot is worse after 24 hours, or if the side effects are worrying or do not seem to be going away after a few days.
Call 911 you are experiencing a severe allergic reaction after leaving the vaccine site.
COVID-19 symptoms vs. vaccine side effects: What's the difference?
Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. They can include:
- Fever or chills.
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
- Muscle or body aches.
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat.
- Congestion or runny nose.
- Nausea or vomiting.
Vaccine side effects will likely disappear within a few days post-shot.
Can you get the flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine at the same time?
The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot.
Jennifer Rudell, Cincinnati district leader for CVS Health and a pharmacist, told The Enquirer that people can get a flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine at the same time.
CVS pharmacies delivered more than twice the usual number of flu shots in 2020-21, and Walgreen started delivering inoculations for this season in mid-August.
The flu vaccine cannot cause the flu, according to the CDC. Side effects can include soreness, redness, and or swelling from the shot, headache, fever, nausea and muscle aches.