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About Potential Side Effects

As with many other vaccines, some people experience short-term side effects after receiving the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Reported side effects include:

  • Arm soreness, redness or swelling
  • Chills
  • Tiredness
  • Fever
  • Muscle pain or body aches
  • Headache

These reactions mean that your body’s immune system is activating, just like it’s supposed to after receiving the vaccine. Any side effects from the vaccine usually only last up to a few days.

Some side effects — such as fever, chills, tiredness and headache — are more common after the second dose of the vaccine. This is because your immune system is already primed to fight, making sure your body is extra ready to protect against COVID-19.

Allergic Reactions to the Vaccine

In rare cases, people have experienced:

  • Minor allergic reactions — hives, swelling or wheezing
  • Severe allergic reactions — anaphylaxis

Severe allergic reactions are extremely rare and generally have taken place within a short time after getting the vaccine. This is why all vaccination sites require you to wait for at least 15 minutes after receiving the vaccine. These facilities have medical staff on-site for immediate support if needed.

If you or a loved one experience severe allergic reactions, you will be taken to a medical facility for further care and monitoring.

Who Should NOT Get the Vaccine

To prevent severe allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine, there are a few groups who are advised to NOT receive the first and/or second dose of the vaccine.

This includes those who:

  • Previously had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) or an immediate allergic reaction to any ingredient used in the COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) or an immediate allergic reaction to their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Have had previous allergic reactions to polyethylene glycol (PEG) and polysorbate.

People who have had a previous reaction to other vaccines should discuss the COVID-19 vaccine with their doctor.

If you have a history of severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications — such as foods, pets, venom, latex, oral medications or environmental factors — you can still get the COVID-19 vaccine.