Public Health

What Does It Feel Like To Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?

Mira Research Team
Mira Research Team22 Sep 2021

Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines require two dosages, spaced 3-4 weeks apart. Receiving the vaccination should not be painful, and most people have experienced only mild side effects. See quotes below from people who have received the COVID-19 vaccine and their experiences,

The Current Available COVID-19 Vaccines

There are currently three COVID-19 vaccines that have been authorized by the FDA. These vaccines were produced by Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer-BioNTech. The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines require you to get two shots. 

The second dose of the Pfizer vaccine must be taken after three weeks, and the second dose of the Moderna vaccine must be taken after four weeks. 

Dr. Ramin Ahmadi, MD, MPH, explains that "while it is possible to become immune after one dose, the second dose ensures that the body has developed the necessary immunity for increased efficacy." Your body should develop full immunity within two weeks of receiving the second dose of the vaccine. Your second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine should be the same brand as the first dose you receive. 

You Will Receive a Vaccination Card After Getting Your First COVID-19 Dose

After getting the COVID-19 vaccine, you will receive a vaccination card stating that you received your first dose of the vaccine. The card will also tell you when you need to return to receive your second dose. 

These cards serve as a good reminder of when to come back for your second dose, as well as proof that you have been vaccinated. Showing this card or another medical record may eventually be required to return to work or travel internationally. 

Health Image

Get Mira - Health Benefits You Can Afford.

Get doctor visits, lab tests, prescription, and more. Affordable copays. Available in 45+ states. Only $45/month on average.

The Vaccine Injection Should Not Be Very Painful 

COVID-19 vaccines are administered through an intramuscular injection, which is a shot in your arm. Getting this shot should feel like the flu shot or any other vaccination.

Katherine Dolan, a scribe at the University of Virginia Emergency Department, explains, "it didn't hurt much! Just your typical prick from a shot. I did not experience any burning sensations while it was injected. I was surprised that it didn't hurt more!"

Most Side Effects Of The Vaccine Should Be Mild; Here's What It Feels Like

Some recipients of the COVID-19 vaccines experienced mild side effects. Side effects are a normal part of getting vaccinated. Other vaccines, such as the MMR shot, may elicit side effects as well. Dr. Ahmadi notes that "every good vaccine stimulates the immune system. During this stimulation, some inflammatory substances are released in the body and cause symptoms like aches, fatigue, or fever."

The most common side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine include tiredness, pain at the site of injection, chills, muscle pain, joint pain, and fever. It is possible to experience these symptoms after either dose; however, it is more common to experience them after the second dose. 

Katherine did not experience any effects from the vaccine and explained: "I felt completely fine that same day, not even fatigued. The day after, I felt a little more tired than usual, but nothing too significant that I had to change my plans for the day. Aside from a little fatigue, I did not experience any side effects or feel limited in any way." 

Mike Gnitecki, Firefighter & Paramedic in Texas, also experienced very minimal side effects: "I had upper arm pain beginning around 10 hours after I got the shot, and the arm pain lasted for about 12-16 hours and then stopped. I did not experience any other symptoms." Gnitecki received his first vaccine dose three weeks ago.

Jamie Hickey, who works at a retirement home, experienced more noticeable side effects. She reported that "the day after the shot, my arm was very sore, and I had a headache coupled with slight stomach cramps. These symptoms lasted for a couple of days then they diminished." 

Health Image

Virtual care for only $25 per visit

Virtual primary care, urgent care, and behavioral health visits are only $25 with a Mira membership.

You May Be Charged Administrative Fees for the COVID-19 Vaccine 

Federal officials announced that nobody would need to pay for the Covid-19 vaccine, regardless of insurance status. However, it is possible to be charged administration fees depending on where you get vaccinated. 

We estimate that these fees can range from $16 to $29 per dose. In addition, once the pandemic is over, the federal government may no longer cover the cost of the vaccine. 

You Should Continue To Wear a Mask After Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine 

The first dose of your vaccine will not offer you complete protection from COVID-19; therefore, it is possible to contract COVID-19 between your first and second dose. Even after getting your second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, it is essential to wear a mask to protect others since not everyone will get vaccinated right away. Mask wearing will likely decrease once we achieve herd immunity in the United States but will not completely disappear. 


Mira Research Team

The Mira Research team conducts original data and medical research on the most applicable topics of today and translates them into easy-to-understand articles to educate the public. Each of our articles is carefully reviewed and curated with interviews and opinions from medical experts, public health officials, and experienced administrators. The team has educational backgrounds from New York University, the University of Virginia, more.