COVID-19 Vaccine Safety

Many of us are trying very hard to protect ourselves and our families from exposure to the coronavirus. Together with mask wearing, hand washing, and social distancing, the COVID-19 vaccine is a safer way to help build protection.  

Groundbreaking cooperation between leading medical experts here in the U.S. and pharmaceutical companies globally has given us hope for a return to normal, thanks to the COVID-19 vaccine. The speed of development was due to the sharing of research on a scale never attempted before — and every study, and every phase of every trial, was carefully reviewed and approved by a safety board and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The process was transparent and rigorous throughout, with continual oversight and expert approval. Data will continue to be collected two years after each vaccine is first administered to ensure that the long-term effects are safe. 

The vaccine cannot make you sick or infected with COVID-19 because none of the COVID-19 vaccines contain the live virus that causes the disease. 

Benefits Vs. Risks

Premier Health recommends that everyone receives the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them. To help you decide what’s best for you and your family, here are some of the risks and benefits. Be sure to talk with your health care provider about your questions.

You’re considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine.

Benefits

  • Getting a COVID-19 vaccine may keep you from getting seriously ill even if you get COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • COVID-19 vaccination is a safer way to help build protection than getting COVID-19, because the disease can have serious, life-threatening complications — and there’s no way to know how it will affect you.
  • Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccine is an important tool to help stop the pandemic.
  • After you’re fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did before the pandemic. Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physical distancing, except where required by laws, rules, and regulations (including local business and workplace guidance).

Risks

  • Vaccination may cause mild side effects including pain, redness or swelling where the shot was given, fever, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, or joint pain.
  • COVID-19 vaccines may not be recommended for people with certain health conditions. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about getting the vaccines.
  • A significant allergic reaction to the vaccine is rare. Everyone who gets a COVID-19 vaccine is monitored on site for any allergic reactions.

Minimal Side Effects

Side effects are minimal.  When mild side effects occur, they are a normal sign your body is building protection to the virus.  

The most common side effects include fatigue, headache, soreness or redness at the injection site, and muscle or joint pain. These should not prevent you from getting a vaccine that can prevent you from catching or spreading this deadly virus. You should expect to see such a reaction within 48 hours of vaccination, and it would be expected to end in one to two days. 

Allergic Reactions Rare

The likelihood of a severe side effect is less than 0.5 percent.  However, as is usual with other vaccines, you will be asked to remain in the vaccine clinic for about 15 minutes after receiving the shot so that the staff can monitor for an immediate severe reaction. 

As is usual, Premier Health will also have EpiPens on hand to address unusual reactions such as an anaphylactic reaction. If you have a severe reaction after leaving the vaccine clinic, contact your primary care provider, visit the nearest emergency department, and/or call 911. 

If you have had allergic reactions to other vaccines, you may want to talk with your physician to determine if the COVID-19 vaccine is safe for you. If you decide to get the COVID-19 vaccine, you’ll need to remain at the vaccine clinic for 30 minutes after receiving the vaccine to ensure no reactions develop.

For More Information

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers extensive information on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.