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People Who Got COVID Vaccine Had These Side Effects Most

The least reported side effect was nausea. The most reported side effect may surprise you.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Whether you're in line to get your COVID-19 vaccine, already got vaccinated or are resisting vaccination, you might be wondering about which side effects are the most common—you know, which ones are normal. Fortunately, the CDC, via their V-safe program, asked thousands of people who have gotten the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines about what side effects were the most prominent. Here are the reported side effects, starting with the least common and ending with the big reveal: the #1 most common. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss this urgent news: Here's How You Can Catch COVID Even If You're Vaccinated.



Woman Suffering From Nausea

8.9% reported feeling this after their COVID-19 vaccine

Coming in as one of the least popular side effects, the urge to vomit affected 8.9% of respondents. This reaction and the others you're about to read about "are frequent and are a sign that might indicate that your body is making an immune response to the vaccine. They should go away within 1-2 days," according to Yale Health.


Joint Pain

Woman With Painful Hand

10.4% reported feeling this after their COVID-19 vaccine

The joint pain you may feel after a COVID-19 vaccine will be different than, say, arthritis. "When people have rheumatoid arthritis flares, they may have joint swelling, where you actually see a swollen joint filled with fluid that may be warm or hot to touch," Elana Oberstein, MD, an internist with a subspecialty in arthritis and autoimmune disease at The Lennar Foundation Medical Center in Coral Gables, Florida, tells Creaky Joints. "That is not a vaccine side effect. The joint achiness sometimes caused by vaccines is more of a systemic achiness." Chills are also vaccine-related and likely not related to a traditional disease flare-up.


Injection Site Swelling


10.8% reported feeling this after their COVID-19 vaccine

You may have swelling or a rash at the injection site. Not to worry. "You may not realize that COVID-19 vaccination can also cause other harmless side effects, including swollen lymph nodes or an unsightly arm rash—sometimes called 'COVID arm,'" reports Yale Medicine. "Because these reactions are normal, medical experts want to get the word out to avoid any alarm for those who experience such symptoms." "As more people get vaccinated, it's important to allay fears and avoid unnecessary testing or treatment for conditions that should quickly resolve," says Brita Roy, MD, MPH, an internal medicine physician and director of population health for Yale Medicine. 



Sick woman lying in bed with high fever.

11.4% reported feeling this after their COVID-19 vaccine

If you've had COVID before, you're more likely to have a fever spike after the first dose. "Their bodies had seen the spike protein before and had developed some immune response. When their immune system sees it again in the vaccine, the memory kicks in and drives up the immune response, just like it does after the second dose for people who haven't been infected previously," Dr. Thomas Campbell told UC Health.



Woman Feeling Sick or Sad Wrapped in Cozy Blue Blanket

11.6% reported feeling this after their COVID-19 vaccine

If you've read this far, you may be wondering: Does the COVID-19 vaccine give you the flu? No. But: "Common side effects include flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, muscle aches, headaches and exhaustion. A small percentage of people also report some digestive symptoms such as nausea or diarrhea," says UC Health.


Muscle Pain

Woman is touching her stiff shoulder.

22.9% reported feeling this after their COVID-19 vaccine

If you have muscle pain—in your arm or anywhere—"exercising your vaccinated arm, or using a heating pad or ice, can help with soreness and pain," reports Smithsonian. "The CDC recommends talking to your doctor about taking over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin or antihistamines for pain or discomfort after getting vaccinated."

RELATED: Most COVID Patients Did This Before Getting Sick



Woman experiencing a bad headache

29.5% reported feeling this after their COVID-19 vaccine

A headache should pass after a day or two. "Headache is part of what we call the systemic side effects that occur with the vaccines. Other systemic side effects include fever, fatigue, muscle pain, and joint pain," Emad Estemalik, MD, the section head for headache and facial pain at the Center for Neurological Restoration at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, tells Everyday Health.



tired woman

22.5% reported feeling this after their COVID-19 vaccine

"When you get the second dose, you can feel a fatigue," says Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "That feeling of yuckiness and fatigue and fever is your body making a great immune response," Dr. Sharon Nachman, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at Stony Brook Children's Hospital, told Insider.


And the #1 Reported COVID Vaccine Side Effect is….Injection Site Pain

A man experiencing discomfort in his upper arm

70.9% reported feeling this after their COVID-19 vaccine

Rated the #1 most common vaccine side effect, "when you get vaccinated, you get a sore arm for maybe a day," Dr. Fauci said this weekend. This is similar to a flu vaccine. "Arm soreness in the hours and days following the injection is a normal response. It doesn't mean there's a problem or that the injection was given in the wrong spot," says a doctor at Kaiser Permanente. "Soreness is actually a good sign that your immune system is getting hard at work, making antibodies to protect against the virus. Any worries you may have about flu shot pain should pale in comparison to the concerns about getting the flu itself." So don't worry too much about these side effects—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 about Alek