9 Things to Do After Getting Your COVID-19 Vaccines

Whether you’re getting your first COVID-19 vaccine or your second booster, congratulations! You’re taking a significant step towards defending your health and the health of your family, neighbours, and community.

Mild side effects are frequent after immunizations and boosters. But there are steps you may do after having the COVID-19 vaccine to help prevent and manage side effects.

Keep reading to learn more about what you should and shouldn’t do in the days after your immunisation.

What to do before having your COVID-19 immunizations?

If you have COVID-19 or have recently been around someone who tested positive, talk with your doctor or healthcare provider about when you should get the vaccine. To avoid exposing others to the virus, don’t go for a vaccine until you know that it’s safe to do so.

If you’re not sure where to go for your vaccine, you can check out the CDC’s vaccine location tool. Some facilities may require you to make an appointment ahead of time, while others offer walk-in services.

If you’ve gotten any previous COVID-19 immunizations, you should bring your COVID-19 vaccination card with you. If you can’t find it, that’s OK. There will be an electronic recordTrusted Source.

If you need proof of vaccination, your state health agency can supply you with an electronic or physical copy of your official immunisation record.

The day of your shoot

Make sure to wear something loose that will allow the technician to readily access your upper arm. Vaccines are occasionally given in secret rooms or behind screens, but they may also be given in full public view. Therefore, you’ll want to keep fully clothed during the process.

Let the technician know which is your dominant arm. Since discomfort, redness, and swelling at the injection site are common adverse effects, you may prefer to get the injection in your non-dominant arm.

Mask mandates change constantly. No matter the mandate, though, it’s a good idea to wear a mask when you go for your immunisation.

What to do after your COVID-19 immunizations?

Once you’ve been vaccinated, remain at the vaccination site for 15 minutes. This is to guarantee you receive medical assistance if you suffer an allergy or unpleasant reaction. Even though these instances are infrequent, this precaution is crucial for safeguarding your health.

Side effects are prevalent following COVID-19 injections. But you may not have any adverse effects, but this doesn’t indicate the vaccine didn’t work.

Common side effects that may occur within hours or days of getting the shot include:

  • pain, swelling, and redness at the injection site
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • fever
  • chills
  • muscle pain
  • nausea

Vaccine side effects may be more intense for some people after having the second shot of a two-dose vaccine. Booster shot adverse effects are identical to those from the two-dose or single-dose primary injection.

To reduce typical side effects, check out these tips:

1. Avoid vigorous exertion

Don’t schedule any strenuous activity or exercise for a day or two after your vaccine. You don’t know how you’ll feel, and you may prefer to rest or relax.

2. Ice your arm

The CDC recommendsTrusted Source using a cool washcloth on the injection site. This helps minimise swelling and alleviate pain. You may also wish to use an ice pack, however you shouldn’t apply this directly to the skin. You can wrap the ice in a clean cloth or paper towel.

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3. Keep it moving

The CDC also encourages moving and exercising the arm you got your immunisation in. Using your arm as often as you can may help minimise pain and swelling.

4. Take an OTC pain reliever

Talk with your doctor or healthcare expert about whether it’s okay for you to use over-the-counter (OTC) pain medicines like aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), or ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin).

When it’s safe to do so, the CDC recommends that persons over the age of 18 can use OTC pain medicines to minimise discomfort in the arm and manage vaccination side effects like muscular pain and headaches. These drugs also help decrease fevers.

Always talk with your child’s doctor before giving them any new medications.

5. Stay hydrated

Drink plenty of water and other fluids to avoid dehydration from fever. Alcohol and caffeinated beverages like coffee can lead to dehydration, so avoid those until you’re feeling better.

6. Get plenty of rest

Get lots of sleep, especially if you feel achy or ill. If you don’t want to sleep, simply relax and let your body rest as the vaccination charges up your immune system.

This is an excellent opportunity to catch up on the bestseller that’s been gathering dust on your nightstand.

7. Log your symptoms

If you choose to, you can track your symptoms (or your child’s) and report them to the CDC. This helps the CDC monitor vaccine adverse effects in real-time. To report your symptoms sign up for V-safeTrusted Source on your smartphone.

8. Continue to take precautions

It takes about 2 weeks for your vaccine to become fully effective. You won’t be entirely protected during this period and can still receive and pass along the COVID-19 virus.

You should aim to avoid large indoor gatherings and continue to follow your state’s masking rules until you’re completely vaccinated and boosted.

9. Share your story

Encourage others to get vaccinated by sharing your experience. This is one of the best ways you can contribute to the fight against COVID-19. And it will help make your neighbourhood a safer and healthier place to live.

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When to call your doctor?

If you encounter adverse effects that don’t improve after a few days, you should call your doctor.

According to the CDCTrusted Source, adverse reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine are rare, but they can occur in the weeks following your vaccination. They include:

  • myocarditis (inflammation of the heart)
  • pericarditis
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome
  • tinnitus
  • thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome

Other research has suggested tinnitus, which is a ringing in the ears, may be connected with the COVID-19 vaccine.

If you have any of these symptoms, get emergency medical care:

  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • erratic or irregular heart rate
  • fluid buildup that causes swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet
  • fainting

Vaccine FAQs

Here are some questions people typically ask regarding the COVID-19 vaccination.

Is it common to feel ill following the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. Fever, chills, and muscle aches are frequent following vaccination. They generally don’t last longer than a day or two.

What should I do if I test positive after the COVID-19 vaccine?

If you think you may have COVID-19, get tested as soon as possible. You can use an at-home test or go to a testing centre.

It’s still possible to get COVID-19 after you’re fully vaccinated. Testing is important because symptoms tend to be milder after you’re vaccinated. And some people have no symptoms at all.

If you test positive, isolate yourself until you test negative, so you don’t spread the virus to others. If you do have symptoms, you can contact your doctor about prescription medications that may help you get better quicker.

Can I take pain medication after the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, the CDC says adults can take an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever to treat post-vaccine discomfort, as long as it is safe for them to do so.

Talk with your doctor about OTC pain relievers like aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin), and acetaminophen (Tylenol) to find out which ones are safe for you.

Can I exercise after the COVID-19 vaccine?

It’s a good idea to gently move and exercise the arm where you got the injection. If you have no side effects and feel fine, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy other forms of exercise, provided you remain hydrated.

If you have a fever, muscle aches, or simply don’t feel up to it, avoid strenuous exercise for a day or two.


The COVID-19 vaccine has overwhelmingly been shown to be safe and effective in most people. But mild, transient side effects are common.

You may be able to lessen or avoid side effects by using strategies such as remaining hydrated, icing your arm, and resting.

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