What to expect after getting a COVID-19 vaccine

March 25, 2021

Once you finally get the COVID-19 vaccine, it’s normal to get some side effects because that’s how the body functions - it’s adjusting and building protection. They might affect your ability to do daily chores, but they’ll last only for a few days. The common side effects are:

On the arm where you were given the shot you may experience:

  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling

Rest of the body:

  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Nausea

Also, you are advised a 1-hour cooling down time right after taking the vaccination. This is to monitor you for any possible side effects like dizziness, nausea, vomiting and any of the other symptoms mentioned above.

If you’re facing any discomfort or mild pain, talk to your doctor about taking a painkiller or any over-the-counter medication. To reduce pain in the arm where you were given the shot:

  • Keep a clean, wet and slightly cool washcloth over the area
  • Keep exercising your arm by doing your usual activities (try to avoid keeping it still for long)

If you have a fever, reduce discomfort by:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids
  • Dressing lightly

When to call the doctor:

As stated earlier, initial discomfort and pain are normal. Contact your doctor or healthcare provider if:

  • The redness/tenderness where you were given the shot increases after 24 hours
  • If the side effects don’t go after a few days

Keep in mind:

  • Side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.
  • With some Coronavirus vaccinations, you’ll need 2 shots. Even if you get side effects you should still get the second shot, unless the vaccine provider explicitly tells you not to.
  • Your body needs time to build protection after any vaccination. The COVID-19 vaccines that require 2 shots will take full effect only 2 weeks after your second shot.
  • Once you are fully vaccinated, you can continue living your life normally and start doing all the things you usually would do.

All in all, we should be grateful to the medical community, WHO and the other agencies who broke all odds to find an effective COVID-19 vaccination including Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, etc., They made vaccines available to at least keep the elderly safe while the rest of us continue to practice the same safety measures till the vaccines are made available to us too.

Stay safe. Stay protected.

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