What to expect after you get a COVID vaccine?

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

Sonia Valdez, DNP, APRN on the common (and generally mild) side effects after the COVID vaccine.

Typically, when I’m going to give the COVID vaccine, I’ll let them know when you’re going to get the first dose of the COVID vaccine you might feel your arm very sore. It’s like somebody punched you in the arm, and that’s that type of a soreness. If you’ve ever gotten a tetanus shot, it feels like a tetanus shot. Your arm is sore probably for the rest of the day, but again, keep moving it around. Do everything that you normally do, because it’ll be like a sore muscle. You still want to be able to move it and get that vaccine going. You want the medication to be able to absorb and disseminate. So, it’s good for you to continue to move that arm around. If you start to feel achy, like minor body aches, if you notice that you have a fever, you can take some Tylenol, if you’d like. If you notice that you have a fever, if you have minor body aches, rest, drink plenty of fluids.

When you get the second dose, that’s typically when you tend to have some or more of the signs and symptoms of the side effects like the body aches, the headache, you might have a fever. Maybe, maybe not. Again, everybody’s very different. And the way your body reacts to medication is very differently. For me personally, it was the second dose where I had the body aches, but I was still able to work. I did the 12-hour shift, and I had no problem being able to do that. And I didn’t have to take anything. But again, we all feel differently. Our bodies are different, and we react differently. So, it just depends your comfort level. For me, I didn’t need to use anything, but if you need to, you can take Tylenol.

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.

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