Side Effects

What to Expect After Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine

The 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 feel like flu and may even affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.

Common Side Effects

On the arm where you got the shot: 

  • Pain 
  • Swelling 

Throughout the rest of your body: 

  • Fever 
  • Tiredness 
  • Chills 
  • Headache

Helpful Tips 

If you have pain or discomfort, talk to your doctor about taking an over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. 

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.

When to Call the Doctor 

In most cases, discomfort from fever or pain is normal. Contact your doctor or healthcare provider: 

  • If the redness or tenderness where you got the shot increases after 24 hours 
  • If your side effects are worrying you or do not seem to be going away after a few days


  • With most COVID-19 vaccines, you will need two shots in order for them to work effectively—plus a booster once eligible. Get the second and booster shots even if you have side effects after the first one, unless a vaccination provider or your doctor tells you not to get additional shot.
  • It takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines that require two shots may not protect you until a week or two after your second shot.
  • Side effects may feel like flu and even affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.
  • It’s important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic as we learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions. Masks, physical distancing and proper handwashing are all tools available to help limit the spread.