COVID-19 vaccine effects

Following the FDA’s emergency approval of the COVID-19 vaccine in the late winter, roughly 140 million people in the United States have received at least one dose of the vaccine. However, like most vaccines, many have already experienced negative side effects. 

According to the CDC, the most common side effects are pain, swelling, and redness in the arm that received the injection. This is common in various other vaccines, however, and is not necessarily unique to the COVID-19 vaccines. In fact, muscle and joint pain, as well as swelling, are listed as two of the most common side effects for general vaccines like the flu shot.  

As for the rest of your body, the CDC reports that nausea, tiredness and fevers are likely to occur. With the Moderna vaccine, for example, side effects usually present themselves within a day or two of receiving the injection.

Should the side effects be extreme, the CDC recommends you ask your normal health care provider for over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen. Note, however, that taking over-the-counter pain relief medication with the intent to avoid the side effects is not recommended.  

While patients report different levels of severity in regards to side effects, it is widely accepted that the side effects for all the vaccines are the same. The fact sheets for the Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Janssen vaccines can all be found on the FDA’s website. Each PDF goes in depth on the ingredients and effects of each vaccine. 

The New York Times recently released a FAQ list regarding the vaccine and on their site where one can search through each subtopic to find more information. While general side effects have been stated, each individual will react to the vaccine in different ways, regardless of the version that is received. 

For more information on the vaccines take a look at the CDC’s COVID-19 website, where news on the efficacy of,  distribution of and detailed information about the vaccines is regularly updated by staff members. 


Infographic by Chase Willet/Talon