COVID-19 vaccines are safe, and getting vaccinated will help protect you against developing severe COVID-19 disease and dying from COVID-19. You may experience some mild side effects after getting vaccinated, which are signs that your body is building protection. Some people have no side effects.

Yes, this is normal. Vaccines are designed to give you immunity without the dangers of getting the disease. It’s common to experience some mild-to-moderate side effects when receiving vaccinations. This is because your immune system is instructing your body to react in certain ways: it increases blood flow so more immune cells can circulate, and it raises your body temperature in order to kill the virus.

Historically, when new vaccines are introduced, unknown side effects occur within 2 months of vaccination, if there are any.  We continue to monitor safety even after a vaccine becomes available to the public.

The most common side effects after vaccination are mild. They include:

  • Pain, swelling, or redness where the vaccine was injected
  • Mild fever
  • Chills
  • Feeling tired
  • Headache
  • Muscle and joint aches

 Less common side effects reported for some COVID-19 vaccines have included

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of the face and throat
  • A fast heartbeat
  • A bad rash all over your body
  • Dizziness and weakness

These serious side effects from vaccines are extremely rare. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises people to be monitored for 15 minutes after vaccination, and those with a history of other allergies for 30 minutes, so they can be monitored and treated immediately if they have a reaction.

In most cases, discomfort from pain or fever is a normal sign that your body is building protection. Contact your doctor or healthcare provider:

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

The vaccine side effects should resolve within about 2 to 3 days  of taking a COVID-19 vaccine. At most, those side effects can last up to a week.

While the symptoms show your immune system is responding to the vaccine in a way that will protect against disease, evidence from clinical trials showed that people with few or no symptoms were also protected.

If the side effects following the first dose were mild or moderate, a person should have the second vaccination. However, if there was a severe allergic reaction to the first dose, then the second dose isn’t advisable. With that said, please discuss your options with your healthcare provider as each case would need to be carefully assessed.

A blood clot that develops after vaccination is called a Vaccine Induced Thrombosis. The most serious of these clots tend to occur in large veins in the brain and abdomen while the platelets (that would normally be part of the clotting process) drop dangerously low as well. This is called Vaccine Induced Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia. It is an extremely rare condition, but local experts and treatments are available.

  • Severe headache that does not go away. It may occur with blurred vision, vomiting, weakness on one side of the body or difficulty speaking.
  • Severe abdominal pain that does not go away. It may be associated with vomiting.
  • A rash of tiny red spots might occur under the skin around the injection site.
  • Leg pain or swelling.
  • Chest pain or shortness of breath.

If you get any of  the above symptoms, act without delay:

  1. Seek care immediately. Go to an emergency unit, tell the doctor when you were vaccinated and take any medication that you have been taking with you.
  2. A blood test will check if your platelets are low.