What are the side effects of the COVID vaccine and how can I manage them?

After COVID-19 vaccination, you may have some side effects. This is a normal sign that your body is building protection. 

Common side effects include:

  • Pain or swelling on the arm where you got the shot
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Tiredness
  • Headache

You may feel like you have the flu for a few days, but these effects will go away. You should contact your healthcare provider or seek medical care right away if you have any of the following severe side effects:

  • Redness or swelling greater than 10 cm around the injection site
  • A dark brown or black appearance to your skin (necrosis) or red and peeling skin (exfoliative dermatitis) around the injection site
  • Pain at the injection site that prevents daily activities
  • Fatigue, headache, chills, muscle or joint pain that prevents daily activities
  • Vomiting that requires an IV for dehydration
  • Diarrhea (6 or more loose stools in 24 hours)

If you have pain or discomfort after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, talk to your healthcare provider about taking an over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

To reduce pain and discomfort where you get the shot, try to: 

  • Apply a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the area
  • Use or exercise your arm

To reduce discomfort from fever, be sure to:

  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Dress lightly