What to expect after your COVID-19 vaccination


"If you are vaccinated in hospital, we will be notified directly. You do not need to inform the practice."


In the UK, there are 2 types of COVID-19 vaccine to be used once they are approved. They both require 2 doses to provide the best protection. Both have been shown to be safe and effective in clinical trials.

An independent group of experts has recommended that the NHS offers these vaccines to those at highest risk of catching the infection and suffering serious complications if they do catch the infection. This includes older adults in care homes and frontline health and social care workers. When more vaccine becomes available, the vaccines will be offered to other people at risk as soon as possible.

The vaccine you are being offered is amongst the first to be approved as safe and effective by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

You have just received your first dose and now should plan to attend your next appointment.

Side effects

Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. Most of these are mild and short-term, and not everyone gets them. Even if you do have symptoms after the first dose, you still need to have the second dose.

Although you may get some protection from the first dose, having the second dose will give you the best protection against the virus.

Very common side effects include:

  • having a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm where you had your injection. This tends to be worst around 1 to 2 days after the vaccine
  • feeling tired
  • headache
  • general aches, or mild flu like symptoms

Although feeling feverish is not uncommon for 2 to 3 days, a high temperature is unusual and may indicate you have COVID-19 or another infection. An uncommon side effect is swelling of the glands. You can rest and take the normal dose of paracetamol (follow the advice in the packaging) to help make you feel better.

These symptoms normally last less than a week. If your symptoms seem to get worse or if you are concerned, call NHS 111. If you do seek advice from a doctor or nurse, make sure you tell them about your vaccination (show them the vaccination card) so that they can assess you properly.

You can also report suspected side effects of vaccines and medicines online through the Yellow Card scheme or by downloading the Yellow Card app.

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