What to Expect after Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

Got your shot? Now what?

After you receive the COVID-19 vaccine:

1. Plan to get your second dose.

The COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna will require more than one dose. Your vaccine provider will let you know if you need an additional dose and will help provide a way to remind you when it’s time to return for the second dose. They will also give instructions on how to enroll in V-Safe. It is important to complete the vaccination series for complete protection against COVID-19.


2. Enroll in V-Safe.

After receiving the vaccine, you’ll be asked to enroll in V-safe. V-safe is a smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Through V-safe, you can quickly tell CDC if you have any side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Depending on your answers, someone from CDC may call to check on you and get more information. And V-safe will remind you to get your second COVID-19 vaccine dose if you need one. [Instructions on downloading and using the V-safe app]


3. Ask your health care provider if a booster shot is right for you.

Booster shots are now available. Ask your health care provider if a booster shot is right for you.


4. Keep following safety protocols until CDC and local officials advise that it is no longer necessary.

What kinds of side effects might I experience?

Some common side effects include arm pain at the injection site, fatigue, headache or other body aches, or fever for a few days. These side effects are also experienced after receiving other types of vaccines, such as the flu shot. This does not mean that the vaccine has given you COVID-19. Rather, this means that the vaccine is causing your body’s immune system to react and create antibodies to fight off the virus.

Johnson and Johnson Vaccine






Mild to moderate discomfort from fever or pain due to the vaccine is normal. Contact your doctor or healthcare provider if:

  • the redness or tenderness where you got the shot increases after 24 hours, or
  • your side effects worry you or do not seem to be going away after a few days.

If you do not have a healthcare provider, contact the provider who vaccinated you


[Instructions on downloading and using the V-safe app]



Visit our COVID-19 Vaccination FAQs page, or contact us by email or phone.
Email: RHHDvax@vdh.virginia.gov
COVID hotline: (804) 205-3501


Need help finding resources?
Call (804) 205-3500 or 211

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