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After your appointment

Similar to other vaccines, COVID-19 vaccines can cause side effects for some people. These usually last from a few hours to a few days after vaccination. Side effects are more likely to happen after the second dose.

This is the body's natural inflammatory response or reaction, indicating that it's working hard to build immunity against the disease.

Examples of common side effects that have been reported for the COVID-19 vaccines include redness or swelling where the vaccine was given, tiredness/headache, muscle/joint pain, chills/fever, and diarrhea.

Very rare cases of blood clots with low platelets have been reported in those who have received the AstraZeneca vaccine. Learn more about this rare possible side effect.

Serious side effects after receiving the vaccine are rare. Most serious reactions will occur shortly after injection, and clinic staff are prepared to help you if you have an allergic reaction should it occur. However, should you develop any of the following adverse reactions within three days of receiving the vaccine, seek medical attention right away or call 911 if needed. Rare serious side effects include allergic reaction (hives, swelling of the face or mouth, trouble breathing), very pale colour, serious drowsiness, high fever (over 40°C), convulsions or seizures, and numbness (pins and needles).

If you have a reaction that requires you to seek medical care, your healthcare provider will inform public health of any serious side effects after vaccination.

You can use a cool damp cloth where the vaccine was given to help with soreness. If needed, pain or fever medication (such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen) may help with pain or fever.

If you are concerned about any reactions you experience after receiving the vaccine, contact your healthcare provider. Any side effects that are greater than common side effects listed on your aftercare sheet from the immunization clinic or that are concerning to you should be reported to SMDHU Immunization Program at 705-721-7520 (1-877-721-7520). One of our staff will collect the information and advise you on next steps.

If you experienced side effects that were more severe than the common side effects after your first dose, make sure to tell the person providing the second dose about the side affects you experienced the first time.

Reported side effects are collected provincially, nationally and internationally and guidance about getting the vaccine is adjusted as required.

  • Do not get any other vaccines until you have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and at least 28 days have passed after the second dose (unless considered necessary by your health care provider).
  • If you are planning to become pregnant, it is recommended that you wait 28 days after receiving the vaccine. 
  • You will be provided with a paper certificate as proof of immunization and, if you consent, it will also be emailed to you. Be sure to keep that as you may be required to notify your workplace’s Occupational Health and Wellness department that you have been immunized and provide them with proof of immunization.

For more information please visit Health Canada’s webpage onVaccine safety and possible side effects.



Page last modified: April 30, 2021

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