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COVID-19 Vaccine: What to Know When Considering Vaccination

You might be wondering, “Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?” It’s natural to feel apprehensive about potential COVID-19 vaccine side effects, especially with so many rumors floating around the internet. MD Now is here to address your concerns about the vaccines and set your mind at ease.

The COVID-19 Vaccine Benefits: How Vaccination Can Save Lives

Vaccines train our immune systems to recognize and fight off a virus or bacteria. All the currently approved vaccines have demonstrated safety and effectiveness in clinical trials.

The COVID-19 vaccines help to prevent serious illness caused by the coronavirus. This reduces the number of deaths and prevents hospitals from becoming overwhelmed.

Although COVID-19 vaccines are effective at keeping you from getting sick, they are also effective at preventing the spread of the disease. Scientists are still learning how well vaccines prevent you from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to others.

COVID-19 Vaccine Effectiveness: When Will I Be Fully Protected?

It takes time for the vaccines to work. The Moderna and Pfizer 2-dose series will be effective 2 weeks after the 2nd dose. The J&J 1-dose vaccine is effective 2 weeks after 1st dose administration.

The CDC recently updated masking guidelines for fully vaccinated Americans. If you are not yet fully vaccinated, you should continue following the same masking guidelines from the CDC as before. Check the most recent rules where you live as some states and cities are lifting or adding regulations.

Common Side Effects: Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Safe?

You may experience some mild side effects after receiving your vaccination. If you received the two-dose Moderna or Pfizer shot, you’ll be more likely to experience side effects after the second dose. However, it is important to know  that side effects are normal signs that the vaccine is working and your body is building that needed protection.

If your side effects become severe, we suggest seeking medical care.

Possible side effects include:

  • Pain, swelling, or redness at the injection site
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Nausea

COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects: When Should You Consult a Physician?

Any side effects are likely to go away on their own within a few days.

Consider contacting a doctor if you experience:

  • Redness or pain at the injection site for longer than 24 hours, or that gets worse after 24 hours.
  • Other common side effects that continue for more than a few days.
  • Any severe illness, pain, or other symptoms that would usually be cause for concern.

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

Since authorities paused the Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to concerns about blood clots, you may be asking, “Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?”

As of April 23, 2021, the CDC and FDA have ended the pause on administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The risk of blood clots is quite low, while the risks for complications from COVID-19 are far more concerning.

Catching the Virus

If you’re asking, “Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?” because you’re worried it could infect you with the virus, we have good news. It’s impossible to contract the coronavirus from any of the vaccines. None of them contain the live virus that causes the disease.

More to Learn: What Areas of Vaccine Research are Ongoing?

Although the COVID-19 vaccine benefits are proven, we are still learning a great deal.


We know the vaccines prevent serious illness and hospitalization. Researchers are looking at how effective the vaccines are at preventing the spread of the virus itself.


Another important area of study is around the issue of lasting immunity. Current research suggests that immunity may last at least six months. It’s likely that those that are fully vaccinated will require booster shots to keep immunity strong.


Considering that new variants are popping up all the time, research in this area will be ongoing. That said, as of now, data suggests that the available vaccines should be effective against the current variants.

Herd Immunity

We must vaccinate a certain percentage of the population to achieve herd immunity. The percentage varies depending on the virus. For example, it’s 95 percent for measles, but it’s only 80 percent for polio. Researchers are working to determine how many people must be fully vaccinated to stop the spread of the coronavirus.