Side effects of the coronavirus vaccines

Some people may experience side effects after the vaccine. These are usually mild and are much less serious than developing coronavirus or complications associated with coronavirus. Any side effects usually go away within a few days.

After you get the vaccine, it’s still important to follow the latest government guidance.

Common side effects

Some of the common side effects of the coronavirus vaccine may include:

  • tenderness, swelling and/or redness at the injection site
  • headache
  • muscle ache
  • feeling tired
  • fever (temperature above 37.8°C).

A less common side effect is swelling of the glands. This starts a few days after the vaccine and may last for up to 2 weeks. This is to be expected and is a sign of the immune system responding to the vaccine.

If you feel uncomfortable, take paracetamol. Make sure you take paracetamol as directed on the label or leaflet.

If you’re worried about your symptoms, phone NHS 24’s 111 service.

2 doses

It is important to get 2 doses of the vaccine, even if you have mild side effects after the first dose.

Fever after the coronavirus vaccine

It’s quite common to develop a fever after a vaccination. This normally happens within 48 hours of the vaccination and usually goes away within 48 hours.

You do not need to self-isolate or book a test unless you have other coronavirus symptoms or:

  • you have been told by NHS Test and Protect, or your occupational health team, that you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for coronavirus
  • you live with someone who has recently tested positive for coronavirus
  • you live with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus

If the fever starts more than 48 hours after the vaccination or lasts longer than 48 hours, you should self-isolate and book a test.

Side effects of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine

A full list of common side effects of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is available on GOV.UK.

Information for UK recipients on Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

Side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine

A full list of common side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine is available on GOV.UK.

Information for UK recipients on AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Can I catch coronavirus from the vaccine?

You cannot catch coronavirus from the vaccine but you can catch it before you get your vaccine and not know you’ve got it until afterward.

Reporting side effects

As with all vaccines, you can report suspected side effects through the Yellow Card website.

Continue to follow FACTS

It is not known whether having the vaccine stops you from spreading the virus to others so it’s important that we all continue to follow FACTS:

  • F – Face coverings
  • A – Avoid crowds
  • C – Clean hands and surfaces regularly
  • T – Two-metre distance
  • S – Self isolate and book a test if you have symptoms

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