What to Expect After Receiving a COVID-19 Vaccine

Sunrise Senior Living  |  March 4, 2021
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Residents and staff at Sunrise Senior Living communities were fortunate to be some of the first people in the country to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognized the importance of prioritizing older adults who live in housing communities as well as their caregivers. As a result, vaccines started being administered to both groups in January.

At present, there are 2 different COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the United States As these vaccines continue to roll out across the country, one common concern is what to expect after you receive the shot. This is a fair question, especially considering how quickly these vaccines were developed.

So, what are the potential side effects people might experience after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine? Here are a few of the most common.

Side Effects of the COVID-19 Vaccines

Fortunately, most people experience very few side effects after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. According to the CDC, those who do are most likely to cite one of several symptoms:

  • Soreness at the injection site
  • Slight swelling in the arm
  • Fever or chills
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Headache

Physicians say that fever, fatigue, or a headache are signs your immune system is working to build immunity, just as the vaccine is designed to do. Most symptoms resolve within a few hours but last no longer than 2 days.

In rare instances, people who’ve been vaccinated experience allergic reactions. While most of these reactions are mild, a few have been more serious and have required treatment for anaphylaxis. Because of this risk, those who receive the shot are required to be monitored on-site for 15 to 30 minutes afterward.

Treatment for Mild Symptoms

If you do experience any of the moderate symptoms listed above, and are feeling uncomfortable as a result, here are a few ways to find relief:

  • Holding a hot or cold compress at the injection site
  • Stretch your arm to help loosen sore muscles
  • Drink plenty of water and other fluids

You might also want to call your primary care physician for advice on what over-the-counter pain relievers are acceptable to take and how much. After several days, if you feel like your symptoms are worsening call your doctor for advice on what to do.

If you believe that you are developing an allergic reaction, such as hives or difficulty breathing, that’s an issue that needs addressed immediately. Call 911 so you can receive care promptly.

Read More About COVID-19 Vaccines

Because of the rapid development of these COVID-19 vaccines, you may feel more comfortable reading about them before you are vaccinated.

  • Pfizer, Inc. and BioNTech: This was the first vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration in this country. This vaccine requires 2 doses, each administered 21 days apart. View more details here.
  • Moderna: This vaccine also requires 2 doses, but these shots are administered 28 days apart. From ingredients to effectiveness, you can learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Moderna.

The first dose of each of these vaccines helps the body build an immunity to the coronavirus, and the second dose gives the immune system an additional boost.

Sunrise Senior Living Responds to COVID-19 Pandemic

We know older adults and their families have many questions when it comes to COVID-19 and senior living. Learn more about our proactive approach to managing the coronavirus in Sunrise communities across the country. We also invite you to call us at (888) 434-4648 with any questions.