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Common vs. Rare Side Effects of the COVID Vaccines

Health care workers answer questions about the COVID-19 vaccines.

Edith Bracho-Sanchez, MD explains that mild side effects from the COVID vaccines are normal signs that the body is building protection against illness from COVID.

With any vaccine, there’s always a couple side effects, some which are very common, and some of which are extremely rare. The common ones are a sore arm, right? Which I mean, you can work out and get a sore arm. You can also get a little redness at the site. You could have a little fever. You could feel a little achy or be under the weather. I always tell people this doesn’t mean that the vaccine made you sick. This means that the vaccine activated your immune system to do what it’s supposed to do to be ready, should you ever be exposed to this illness.

Now, there are of course more rare side effects. And what I really want people to know, and what’s made me feel better, is knowing that we have excellent systems in this country to detect those rare side effects. So, we have now given millions and millions and millions of vaccines, and we are watching very closely. We have a system for reporting those rare side effects. And as soon as those things are reported, we act very quickly to say, what happened here? Should we be warning people? Should we be warning doctors? And we act quickly. We take it seriously, and we have the privilege of transparency in data in this country.

This information is shared for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. The views expressed are those of the featured medical professional and reflect information available to that professional at time of filming. Always consult a health care provider for any personal health decisions. Click here for vaccine FAQs from the CDC.

Stay up to date with your COVID vaccine, including boosters!

COVID vaccines are safe and effective for everyone ages 6 months and older.

Immunity wanes over time. Keep up your protection against COVID by getting boosted when eligible.

Updated boosters are available for adults and children 6 months and older.