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COVID-19 Vaccine

Care after immunization

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Does the vaccine have side effects?

Many people have no side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine. If you do have side effects, they tend to be mild and go away in a few days. Side effects may include:

  • redness, warmth, swelling, bruising, itching, or feeling sore where you had the needle
  • fever or chills
  • feeling tired or unwell
  • body aches or sore joints
  • headache
  • feeling sick to your stomach (nausea), vomiting (throwing up), or loose stool (diarrhea)
  • swollen lymph nodes

What should I do if I have side effects?

Call Health Link at 811 to report any serious or unusual side effects. It’s rare to have a serious side effect.

Rare events after getting the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine
There have been very rare reports of blood clots, low levels of platelets (these help your blood to clot), and bleeding 4 to 20 days after getting the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine. 

If you have any of the following symptoms, get medical help right away:​
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • leg swelling
  • stomach pain that doesn’t go away
  • a severe headache that doesn’t go away
  • blurry vision
  • bruising (other than where you had the needle)
  • red or purple spots anywhere on your body
  • bleeding (more easily than normal)​

If you have side effects that are the same as COVID-19 symptoms​

If you have side effects that are the same as COVID-19 symptoms, you must stay home and away from others (isolate), even if you think the side effects are from the vaccine.

  • If your side effects start within 24 hours and go away within 48 hours after the side effects start, you don’t have to keep isolating and you can go back to your normal activities. But if you’ve been told to isolate for other reasons, you must keep isolating.
  • If your side effects start after 24 hours or last longer than 48 hours, stay home. Contact Health Link at 811 use the COVID-19 Self-Assessment for Albertans (ahs.ca/testing) to make an appointment for a COVID-19 test. If you don’t get tested for COVID-19, you must stay home for 10 days from the start of your symptoms or until you no longer have symptoms, whichever is longer.

If you only have redness, swelling, or soreness where you had the needle, you don’t need to stay home and away from others.

What can I do to feel better?

To help with soreness and swelling:

  • Put a cool, wet cloth over the area where you had the needle.
  • Move the arm or leg where you had the needle.

If you have a fever, wear fewer layers of clothes and drink more fluids.

There is medicine to help with a fever or pain. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you aren’t sure what medicine or dose to take. Follow the directions on the package.

Children under the age of 18 years should not take aspirin because it can cause serious health problems.

Some people with health problems, such as a weak immune system, must call their doctor if they get a fever. If you were told to do this, call your doctor even if you think the fever is from the vaccine.

If I had the COVID-19 vaccine, do I still have to follow public health measures?

Yes, it’s still important to practice recommended public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, even if you’ve had the vaccine. This includes:

  • following guidelines of when to wear a mask or other equipment that helps protect you
  • washing your hands often
  • staying 2 meters away from others
  • staying home when you’re sick (this means isolating)
  • staying home for 14 days after having close contact with someone who has COVID-19 or after returning from travel outside of Canada (this means quarantining)

Visit ahs.ca/covid for more information, including information about isolation and quarantine.

More information

Call Health Link at 811.

Go to ImmunizeAlberta.ca.

Go to the immunizations page on MyHealth.Alberta.ca.

Go to ahs.ca/covidvaccine.

To get an electronic copy of the immunizations you’ve had in Alberta, register for a MyHealth Records account at MyHealth.Alberta.ca/myhealthrecords​.​

For 24/7 nurse advice and general health information call Health Link at 811.

Current as of: March 30, 2021

Author: Provincial Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services