What to expect after getting a COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you from getting COVID-19. You may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.

Common side effects

On the arm where you received the shot:

  • Pain
  • Swelling

Throughout the rest of your body:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Tiredness
  • Headache

Helpful tips

If you have pain or discomfort, talk to your doctor about taking over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

To reduce pain and discomfort where you received the shot:

  • Apply a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the area
  • Use or exercise your arm

To reduce discomfort from fever:

  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Dress lightly

When to call the doctor

In most cases, discomfort from fever or pain is normal. Contact your doctor or healthcare provider if:

  • the redness or tenderness where you received the shot increases after 24 hours.
  • your side effects are worrying you and do not go away after a few days.

When to call 911

If you think you might be having a severe allergic reaction after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, seek immediate care by calling 911.

Second dose appointment

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a one-dose vaccination. Some COVID-19 vaccinations require two doses. The process to schedule an appointment for a second dose varies by location.

When you receive your first dose, our vaccination staff will either schedule you an appointment for your second dose or explain how to schedule your next appointment vaccination.

Remaining safe

Even after you receive the vaccine, you will need to continue wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth, washing your hands often, and staying at least 6 feet away from other people you do not live with. This gives you and others the best protection from catching the virus. Right now, experts don’t know how long the vaccine will protect you, so it’s a good idea to continue following the guidelines from CDC and your health department. We also know not everyone will be able to get vaccinated right away, so it’s still important to protect yourself and others.

Additional information