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After You Have Been Vaccinated

Need proof of your COVID-19 vaccination? Visit our VaccineCheck page for options.

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 affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Some people have no side effects, and allergic reactions are rare.

Adverse effects that could cause a long-term health problem are extremely unusual following any vaccination, including COVID-19 vaccination. If adverse effects occur, they generally happen within six weeks of receiving a vaccine dose. CDC, FDA, and other federal agencies continue to monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines even now that the vaccines are in use.

Common Side Effects

On the arm where you got the shot:
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  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling
Throughout the rest of your body:
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  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Nausea

Helpful Tips

Talk to your doctor about taking over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, or antihistamines, for any pain and discomfort you may experience after getting vaccinated. You can take these medications to relieve post-vaccination side effects if you have no other medical reasons that prevent you from taking these medications normally. For children, ask your child’s healthcare provider for advice on using a non-aspirin pain reliever and other steps you can take at home after your child gets vaccinated. In general, aspirin is not recommended for use in children and adolescents less than 18 years of age.

It is not recommended you take these medicines before vaccination for the purpose of trying to prevent side effects.

To reduce pain and discomfort where you got the shot
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  • Apply a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the area.
  • Use or exercise your arm.
To reduce discomfort from fever
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  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Dress lightly.

Sign up for v-safe to tell the CDC about any side effects you experience after your vaccination.

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Make sure you register for your 2nd dose of Moderna or Pfizer to get full protection. If you received your vaccination at a Health Department clinic, you should receive an email to register for your 2nd dose. Check your inbox and spam folder. If you don’t see it a week after your 1st dose, call us at 410-876-4848.

After Your Second Shot

Side effects after your second shot may be more intense than the ones you experienced after your first shot. These side effects are normal signs that your body is building protection and should go away within a few days.

When to Call the Doctor

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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 shot gets worse after 24 hours
  • If your side effects are worrying you or do not seem to be going away after a few days

If you get a COVID-19 vaccine and you think you might be having a severe allergic reaction after leaving the vaccination site, seek immediate medical care by calling 911. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and rare severe allergic reactions.

Remember

  • Side effects can affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.
  • The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine and Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine both need 2 shots in order to get the most protection. You should get the second shot even if you have side effects after the first shot, unless a vaccination provider or your doctor tells you not to get it.
  • It takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, or two weeks after the single-dose J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. You should keep using all the tools available to protect yourself and others until you are fully vaccinated.
  • If you have a condition or are taking medications that weaken your immune system, you may not be fully protected even if you are fully vaccinated and have received an additional dose. You should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people until advised otherwise by your healthcare provider.

More information After Vaccination