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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, swelling, or feeling sore where you had the needle
  • fever or chills
  • feeling tired
  • 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?

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

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 the side effects go away within 48 hours, 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 the side effects last longer than 48 hours, stay home. Contact Health Link at 811 or do the COVID-19 Self-Assessment for Albertans 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.
  • How can I help myself 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 fever or pain. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you aren’t sure what medicine or dosage 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 have been told to do this, call your doctor even if you think the fever is from the vaccine.

    More information

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

Current as of: December 28, 2020

Author: Provincial Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services