What to expect with the COVID-19 vaccine
The COVID-19 vaccine will help protect you from getting sick from the virus. It will also lessen the severity of COVID-19 infection and decrease the chance of death should you become infected. And by protecting you it will also protect your family, your friends and all others you interact with.
To receive an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the known and potential benefits of a vaccine must outweigh any known and potential risks. Clinical trials have shown minimal side effects from either of the two COVID-19 vaccines that currently have EUA in the United States — one from Pfizer and one from Moderna. Before the vaccines arrived in Washington, they passed through a number of rounds of evaluation and approval, including the FDA, the CDC, the Washington state Department of Health and an independent collaborative of experts from across Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado and California.
Both vaccines are safe and can protect against the coronavirus.
When a virus infects your body, it makes you sick. In response, your immune system builds a defense against the virus and starts fighting the infection. It might take some time, but once you get better, your immune system is better equipped to protect you against that disease should you be exposed to the virus again, essentially building immunity.
The COVID-19 vaccines provide these virus-fighting defenses without you having to get sick from the coronavirus. Although each COVID-19 vaccine works in slightly different ways, they all help us develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19.
A lot of people have questions about potential side effects from these vaccines. Sometimes after a vaccination, your body develops symptoms or side effects as part of the process of building immunity. This is a normal sign that your body is building protection. These symptoms might affect your ability to do day-to-day activities, but the side effects should go away in a few days.
The most common side effects from the COVID-19 vaccines include:
- Pain and swelling at the injection site
It is important to remember that side effects are normal, but you should listen to your body. You should call your health care provider if the redness or tenderness where you got the shot increases after 24 hours or if anything else doesn’t feel right. Side effects may feel like the flu, but severe symptoms should be reported to your provider and monitored closely.
Both of the COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States require two doses to be effective. Even if you had side effects from the first shot, you should still get the second shot, unless your provider tells you otherwise. It will take time for your body to build immunity after a vaccination, so until you have received both rounds of the vaccine, you won’t be well protected from COVID-19.
It is important to continue to stay safe by practicing physical distancing, wearing your mask and washing your hands before and after receiving the COVID-19 vaccination. Until a large enough percentage of the population develops immunity, the vaccine in combination with the CDC’s safety recommendations will continue to be everyone’s best protection from COVID-19.
We understand many people are eager to get their COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible and are frustrated at the delays in getting an appointment. MultiCare remains committed to providing this important vaccine for our patients and communities as quickly and safely as possible. Please visit our vaccine page for the latest information.
About The Author
MultiCare is a not-for-profit health care organization with more than 20,000 team members, including employees, providers and volunteers. Learn more. More stories by this author