What are the common side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine? If I have a side effect do I need to report it?

Question: 

What are the common side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine? If I have a side effect do I need to report it?

Answer: 

It is normal and expected to have common reactions after you receive the COVID-19 vaccine. These do not need to be reported. Please read about the common expected reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine in the BCCDC vaccine after care sheet

Common side effects:

  • May include pain, redness, swelling and itchiness where the vaccine was given.
  • Some people experience local injection site reactions within 1-2 days after the vaccine, and other people experience local injection site reactions starting a week or more after they get the vaccine.
  • Local injection site reactions are a normal part of your body’s immune response to the vaccine and will resolve within a few days. A cool, damp cloth or wrapped ice pack where the vaccine was given may help.
  • These local injection reactions will go away on their own; however you may feel unwell for a day or two. If you are unable to carry on with your regular activities because of these symptoms, you can take medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tempra) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). Check with your health care provider if you need advice about medication.

Other side effects may include:

  • Tiredness, headache, fever, chills, muscle or joint soreness, nausea and vomiting.
  • These side effects will go away on their own; however you may feel unwell for a day or two. If you are unable to carry on with your regular activities because of these side effects, you can take medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tempra) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). Check with your health care provider if you need advice about medication.

Vaccine side effects vs. COVID-19 symptoms

  • The vaccine is not a live virus vaccine, and cannot cause COVID-19.
  • Some of the side effects of the vaccine are similar to symptoms of COVID-19 infection. However, side effects from the vaccine should only last a day or two and go away on their own.
  • Symptoms such as cough or other respiratory symptoms are not side effects of the vaccine and are more likely to be due to a respiratory infection like COVID-19.
  • Use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool if you experience any symptoms compatible with COVID-19 infection, including respiratory symptoms (runny nose, sore throat, shortness of breath, etc.) or any symptoms listed above, with the exception of local injection site reactions. This will let you know if you need to get tested for COVID-19.

Reporting adverse events following immunization

If you have concerns about any symptoms you develop after receiving the vaccine, speak with your healthcare provider or call 8-1-1 for advice. To report a potential adverse event following immunization with the COVID-19 vaccine, contact the immunization provider that gave you the COVID-19 vaccine. You can also contact your local health unit and ask to speak to a public health nurse.

 

Date last updated: 
Friday, Feb 19, 2021
Date last reviewed: 
Friday, Feb 19, 2021