What do we know about side effects of the first vaccines?


Like all vaccines, the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines can cause side effects. These rarely interfere with daily activities, and often go away with over-the-counter pain medications. It is common to have these types of side effects after a vaccination. They mean your immune system is working and making antibodies as it’s supposed to.

The following side effects were common for all three vaccines:

  • Pain at injection site
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Joint pain
  • Fever

These are not all the possible side effects you may have when taking the vaccine. If you experience any side effects not listed here, tell your health care professional.

In mid-April, the FDA said that six cases had been reported in the United States of a rare and severe type of blood clot in patients who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The FDA advised that people who have received the J&J vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider.

(Updated 4/26/21)

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