There’s a lot of misinformation and rumors floating around about the COVID-19 vaccine, which can be intimidating as you’re looking to get your first shot. It’s important to protect yourself and those around you by getting vaccinated against COVID-19 if you can, and you want to move forward with your appointment well informed and prepared. To dispel some common myths relating to the vaccine, you can read our full article on the topic here. But below, find out a little more about what you can expect, from common side effects to rare ones and uncommon allergic reactions.
When you get a COVID-19 vaccine, it’s normal to feel some pain and detect redness and/or swelling at the site of the injection. Afterward, you may feel tired, have a headache, and experience muscle pain, chills, fever, or nausea. At the time of the second shot, it’s common for individuals with strong immune systems to experience more severe symptoms than they had following the first shot. This is just a sign of the immune system building up protections with a healthy immune response.
You can help reduce post-injection arm soreness by moving your arm regularly, doing arm circles, or other light exercises. Applying a clean, cool, wet washcloth may also help. For fever-like symptoms, make sure to rest and stay well hydrated. If symptoms last more than a few days, or they are severe enough to cause you concern, contact your healthcare provider.
Some rare side effects have been reported in certain vaccines. The production and administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines were recently paused, out of an abundance of caution, to investigate the potential increased risk of severe blood clots. The CDC has since recommended that usage can resume, following a thorough safety review.
Other severe symptoms are extremely rare as well, but anyone who experiences symptoms of blood clots such as shortness of breath, chest pain, or leg swelling; persistent abdominal pain; neurological symptoms such as severe and persistent headaches and blurred vision; or
Petechiae (pinpoint, round spots) beyond the site of vaccination after a few days should contact their healthcare provider immediately.
Anaphylaxis—an immune system response that requires an injection of epinephrine, along with a visit to the hospital—occurs very rarely when patients are allergic to a COVID vaccine. In order to ensure everyone receiving the vaccine stays safe, each person will remain under observation for 15 minutes following each shot as a safeguard. And people who have had severe allergic reactions, or any sort of immediate reaction after another injectable vaccine, should remain for 30 minutes of observation.
The CDC reports some people have developed a red, itchy, swollen, or painful rash a few days to a week after the injection, around the injection site. Known as “COVID arm,” this differs from the common soreness or redness around the injection site in when and how it develops, along with its severity.
Discuss these symptoms with your vaccination provider if they arise, and follow their recommendations on how to move forward. They may advise that you receive the second dose in the other arm, but it is still likely that you will be able to receive the full vaccination so you can be protected.
The CDC’s V-safe web tool also provides personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Through v-safe, you can quickly tell CDC if you have any side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Depending on your answers to the web surveys, someone from CDC may call to check on you and get more information. V-safe will also remind you to get your second COVID-19 vaccine dose if you need one.
If you still have questions about what to expect from your vaccination, or you’re ready to schedule your appointment, the healthcare providers at CHP are here to help. Contact your nearest clinic to get in touch today.