Published 14 September 2021
― Side effects
― What to do if you are concerned about your symptoms
― Are there other more serious side effects?
― How COVID-19 is spread
― Can you catch COVID-19 from the vaccine?
― What to do next
― If you are not well for your appointment
― Will the vaccine protect you?
― What you can do after you’ve had the vaccine
― More information
Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. Most of these are mild and short-term and not everyone gets them. The very common side effects should only last a day or two. The Pfizer vaccine tends to cause more side effects after the second dose than the first dose.
A mild fever may occur shortly after vaccination and last for a day or two, however a high temperature could also indicate that you have COVID-19 or another infection. An uncommon side effect is swollen glands in the armpit or neck on the same side as the arm where you had the vaccine. This can last for around 10 days, but if it lasts longer see your doctor. If you have any side effects after your vaccine, you can take the normal dose of paracetamol (follow the advice in the packaging) and rest to help you feel better.
These symptoms normally last less than a week. If your symptoms seem to get worse or if you are concerned, you or your parent or carer can look at: 111.wales.nhs.uk online, and if necessary call NHS 111 Wales on 111 or your GP surgery. If 111 is not available in your area, call 0845 46 47. Calls to 111 are free from landlines and mobiles. Calls to 0845 46 47 cost 2p per minute plus your telephone provider’s usual access charge. 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 report any side effects online at: coronavirus-yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk or via the Yellow Card app.
Are there other more serious side effects? Recently, cases of inflammation of the heart (called myocarditis or pericarditis) have been reported very rarely after COVID-19 vaccines. These cases have been seen mainly in younger men within a few days after vaccination. Most of these people recovered quickly and felt better following rest and simple treatments. You should seek medical advice urgently if you experience:
COVID-19 is spread through droplets breathed out from the nose or mouth, particularly when speaking or coughing. It can also be picked up by touching your eyes, nose and mouth after contact with contaminated objects and surfaces.
You cannot catch COVID-19 from the vaccine but it is possible to have caught COVID-19 and not realise you have the symptoms until after your vaccination appointment. The most important symptoms of COVID-19 are recent onset of any of the following:
Although a mild fever can occur within a day or two of vaccination, if you have any other COVID-19 symptoms or your fever lasts longer, stay at home and arrange to have a test by phoning 119 (calls are free) or online at: Get tested for Coronavirus (COVID-19).
After your vaccine, you should be given a record card. If you need a second dose your next appointment will be in about 8 to 12 weeks time. The second dose will give you longer lasting protection.
Keep your record card safe and remember to take it to your next appointment.
If you are unwell, it is better to wait until you have recovered to have your vaccine. You should not attend a vaccine appointment if you are self-isolating, waiting for a COVID-19 test or result or it is within 4 weeks of having a positive COVID-19 test.
The COVID-19 vaccine that you have had has been shown to reduce the chance of you suffering from COVID-19 disease. Millions of doses of the vaccine have been given worldwide. The vaccine is highly effective in children and young people. It may take a few weeks for your body to build up some protection from the vaccine. Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective, so you should continue to take recommended precautions to avoid infection. Some people may still get COVID-19 despite having a vaccination, but this should be less severe.
The vaccine cannot give you COVID-19 infection, and it will reduce your chance of becoming ill. It is still important to continue to follow current national guidance. You can continue going to school, college or work after you have had the vaccine. To protect yourself and your family, friends and colleagues, you should still:
You can find out more information about COVID-19 vaccines, including their contents and possible side effects at: coronavirus-yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk/productinformation
You can report suspected side effects online at: coronavirus-yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk or by downloading the Yellow Card app.
To find out how the NHS uses your information, visit: 111.wales.nhs.uk/AboutUs/Yourinformation
For other formats of this leaflet visit: phw.nhs.wales/covid-19-vaccination.