• Yen Nguyen, PharmD

COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects

As the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are rolling out, many people are wondering what to expect.


According to the CDC, over 18 million people in the U.S. have received at least one dose of the vaccine as of January 25, 2021. Here are some quick facts about what to expect from your vaccination:

  • Both the first and second dose should be from the same manufacturer.

  • Side effects can last up to 2-3 days post vaccination, but some effects are seen a week after.

  • It may take up to 2 weeks after the second dose to build full immunity.


Before vaccination

Sleep: Make sure you get a full night’s rest. Having proper sleep can strengthen your immune system and produce a better response to the vaccine.


Vaccines: Make sure you have not received any other vaccines in the past 14 days.


Let your provider know if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • Allergies

  • Fever

  • Bleeding disorder or taking a blood thinner

  • Immunocompromised or taking medicine that affects your immune system

  • Pregnant or planning to become pregnant

  • Breastfeeding

  • Have received another COVID-19 vaccine

During vaccination

Monitor: You will be monitored for 15-30 minutes after vaccination


Signs and symptoms of severe reactions - alert medical staff:

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Swelling of your face and throat

  • Fast heartbeat

  • A bad rash all over your body

  • Dizziness and weakness

Common side effects after vaccination

Below is a summary of common side effects with the COVID-19 vaccines:

At face value, it appears like Moderna's vaccine consistently has more side effects compared to Pfizer's vaccine. However, since clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates from two different trials cannot be directly compared and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.


Recommendations to manage side effects

To relieve pain and swelling:

  • Apply a clean, cool, and wet washcloth over the vaccination site.

  • Perform arm exercises to help improve blood flow to the area.

To relieve fever:

  • Drink a lot of fluids.

  • Dress lightly.

Here are some animal-free medications that you may consider taking after appropriate consultation with your healthcare provider: Advil, Aleve, Tylenol.


When to contact your doctor or healthcare provider

  • If side effects such as redness or tenderness increases after 24 hours

  • If side effects are worrisome or do not seem to go away after a few days

DISCLAIMER: This article is not providing medical guidance and you should speak to your doctor about all decisions regarding your personal health. VeganMed, Inc. does not promote the use or disuse of medications, and we do not assume liability for particular treatment decisions. All medical decisions should be made after seeking the guidance of your doctor, including discussions of any associated risks. We try our best to ensure the accuracy of our information but can not guarantee it. We strive to provide you with valuable information so you can make the right decisions for your health and lifestyle.

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Sources:

1. CDC website, "CDC COVID Data Tracker." https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#vaccinations. Updated Jan 24, 2021


2. CDC website, "Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Currently Authorized in the United States." https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/info-by-product/clinical-considerations.html. Updated Jan 21, 2021.


3. Moderna. MODERNA COVID-19 Vaccine [package insert]. U.S. Food and Drug Administration website. https://www.fda.gov/media/144637/download. Revised December 2020.


4. Moderna. MODERNA COVID-19 Vaccine [fact sheet]. U.S. Food and Drug Administration website. https://www.fda.gov/media/144638/download. Revised December 2020.


5. Pfizer-BioNTech. Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine [package insert]. U.S. Food and Drug Administration website. https://www.fda.gov/media/144413/download. Revised December 2020.


6. Pfizer-BioNTech. Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine [fact sheet]. U.S. Food and Drug Administration website. https://www.fda.gov/media/144414/download. Revised December 2020.


7. Robert Preidt, "Get a Good Night's Sleep Before Your Covid Vaccine." Jan 20, 2021. https://www.webmd.com/vaccines/covid-19-vaccine/news/20210120/get_a_good_nights_sleep_before_your_covid_vaccine#1.


8. CDC website, "What to Expect after Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine." https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/expect/after.html. Updated Jan 11, 2021.



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