After your vaccination: What to expect

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Have you decided to get a COVID-19 vaccine? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “You may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.”

You may experience pain or swelling on the arm where the shot was administered. The CDC recommends applying a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the injection site to help reduce pain or discomfort you may be feeling. You also can move your arm around or exercise it to help with pain.

Fever, chills, tiredness and headache are other possible side effects, so drink plenty of fluids and dress lightly. The CDC says “side effects may feel like flu and even affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.”

You only need to contact your health care provider if the area where the shot was administered is still red or tender after 24 hours or the side effects you’re experiencing linger a few days after the process. But unless your doctor advises otherwise, the CDC advises getting the second shot in a two-step process even if you have side effects.

And remember: “It takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination,” the CDC says. “COVID-19 vaccines that require two shots may not protect you until a week or two after your second shot.”

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