Q&A: Vaccine side effects

See the COVID-19 vaccine side effects vs illness symptoms infographic (PDF)

Now that you’ve received the COVID-19 vaccine, what can you expect for side effects? Krystal Robinson, AVP, infection prevention, answers some common questions.

Q: What are the common side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine?

A: Reported side effects for the COVID-19 vaccines are like those of other vaccines, including redness and/or soreness at the injection site, such as fever (greater than 100.4), fatigue, headache, chills and joint or muscle pain.

A stronger response is more common after receiving the second dose.

Q: Should I be concerned if I experience side effects?

A: Most side effects to vaccines are common. They are an indication of a healthy immune response to fight the virus. Side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities but should go away in a few days.

Q: What can I do to help minimize the side effects?

A: Treat symptoms after vaccination with acetaminophen, ibuprofen, cool compresses and fluids.

Q: What if my side effects don’t go away?

A: If you have a mild to moderate fever and/or chills, or other symptoms post vaccination, please isolate yourself.

  • If symptoms go away within 24 – 48 hours, they were likely an immune response to the vaccine.
  • If symptoms last longer than 24 – 48 hours, if necessary, seek medical care and review your organization’s illness and return-to-work policy.

Q: How can I tell the difference between side effects and a potential illness?

A: Common COVID-19 vaccine side effects include mild to moderate symptoms, such as redness and/or soreness at the injection site, such as fever (greater than 100.4), fatigue, headache, chills and joint or muscle pain. Symptoms indicating possible onset of illness include cough, shortness of breath, sore throat and runny nose.

Q: What should I do if I have additional questions?

A: If you have any questions after you receive the vaccine, please contact your primary care provider. If you need help finding a doctor, please call 623-580-5800 to schedule an appointment or visit https://www.honorhealth.com/find-a-doctor.

If you’re experiencing a life-threatening medical emergency, please call 9-1-1 immediately.