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CDC Says Don't Do This When Getting Your COVID Vaccine

“You may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection,” says the CDC.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

You might be concerned about getting your COVID vaccine. The CDC gets that. "We understand that some people may be concerned about getting vaccinated," they say. "While more COVID-19 vaccines are being developed as quickly as possible, routine processes and procedures remain in place to ensure the safety of any vaccine that is authorized or approved for use." Since "safety is a top priority," the CDC offers advice on what to expect after getting your vaccine—including one thing not to do. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus


The CDC Says Don't Worry That the COVID Vaccine Will Make You Sick With COVID

Woman with face mask getting vaccinated, coronavirus, covid-19 and vaccination concept.

"Can a COVID-19 vaccine make me sick with COVID-19?" asks the CDC. "No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines contain the live virus that causes COVID-19 so a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19." "The COVID vaccine doesn't give you COVID because it's not the virus. It's just one protein from the virus that induces your body to make a good response against the whole virus," says Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.


The CDC Says to Expect Some Side Effects

A man experiencing discomfort in his upper arm

"You may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection," says the CDC. "These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days." On the arm where you got the shot, you may feel pain and swelling. Throughout the rest of your body, you may develop a fever, chills, tiredness or a headache.


If You Feel Pain or Discomfort, Try These Methods to Relieve It

Woman drinking tea and water in bed in the morning

If you feel pain on your arm from the shot:

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

"And to reduce discomfort from fever:

  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Dress lightly," says the CDC.


If You Feel Pain, Discuss Pain Relievers With Your Doctor

Doctor and senior woman wearing facemasks

"If you have pain or discomfort, talk to your doctor about taking over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen, aspirin, antihistamines, or acetaminophen, for any pain and discomfort you may experience after getting vaccinated," says the CDC. "You can take these medications to relieve post-vaccination side effects if you have no other medical reasons that prevent you from taking these medications normally. It is not recommended you take these medicines before vaccination for the purpose of trying to prevent side effects, because it is not known how these medications may impact how well the vaccine works."


When to Call the Doctor

Young man having asthma attack at home

"In most cases, discomfort from fever or pain is normal," says the CDC. "Contact your doctor or healthcare provider:

  • If the redness or tenderness where you got the shot increases after 24 hours
  • If your side effects are worrying you or do not seem to be going away after a few days

If you get a COVID-19 vaccine and you think you might be having a severe allergic reaction after leaving the vaccination site, seek immediate medical care by calling 911."


Remember These Basics, Says the CDC

woman lying on sofa having fever
  • "Side effects can affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.
  • With most COVID-19 vaccines, you will need 2 shots in order for them to work. Get the second shot even if you have side effects after the first shot, unless a vaccination provider or your doctor tells you not to get a second shot.
  • It takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines that require 2 shots may not protect you until a week or two after your second shot."

RELATED: Dr. Fauci Just Said When We'd Get Back to Normal


How to Stay Healthy During This Pandemic

Woman wearing two protective face masks at the same time.

Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more