Lady smiling after receiving a vaccine injection in her arm.

What to Expect After Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine

Outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Moderna, Inc.

COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you from getting COVID-19. After receiving the vaccine, 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 after a few days.

Common Side Effects

On the arm where you got the shot:

  • Pain
  • Swelling

Throughout the rest of your body:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Tiredness
  • Headache

Tips to Alleviate Pain or Discomfort

To reduce pain and discomfort where you got the shot:

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

To reduce discomfort from fever:

  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Dress lightly

Talk to your doctor about taking over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen (TYLENOL®).

When to Call a Doctor

In most cases, discomfort from fever or pain is normal. Contact your doctor or healthcare provider:

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

If you experience a severe allergic reaction after receiving the vaccine, call 9-1-1, or go to the nearest hospital.

Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include:

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

These may not be all of the possible side effects of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine. Serious and unexpected side effects may occur. The Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine is still being studied in clinical trials.

Key Takeaways

Side effects may feel like flu and even affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.
With most COVID-19 vaccines, especially the Moderna vaccine offered at YourTown Health, you will need 2 shots in order for them to work. Get the second shot even if you have side effects after the first one. At YourTown Health, we will schedule you for your first and second dose.
It takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines that require 2 shots may not protect you until a week or two after your second shot.
It’s important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic. Even after you receive two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, continue to cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others, stay at least 6 feet away from others, avoid crowds, and wash your hands often.

Track Your Side Effects with V-Safe — After Vaccination Health Checker

Use your smartphone to tell the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about any side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. You’ll also get reminders if you need a second vaccine dose. Sign up with your smartphone’s browser at

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