Side effects are important details which the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) always consider when assessing potential vaccines for use.
Most side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are mild and should not last longer than a week, such as:
- a sore arm where the needle went in
- feeling tired
- a headache
- feeling achy
- feeling or being sick
You can take painkillers, such as paracetamol, if you need to.
You may get a high temperature or feel hot or shivery 1 or 2 days after having your vaccination.
But if you have a high temperature that lasts longer than 2 days, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste you may have COVID-19. Stay at home and get a test.
If your symptoms get worse or you are worried, call 111.
All patients will be provided with information on the vaccine they have received, how to look out for any side-effects, and what to do if they occur.
Tell healthcare staff before you are vaccinated if you've ever had a serious allergic reaction.
You should not have the COVID-19 vaccine if you have ever had a serious allergic reaction (including anaphylaxis) to:
- a previous dose of the same vaccine
- any of the ingredients in the vaccine
Serious allergic reactions are rare. If you do have a reaction to the vaccine, it usually happens in minutes. Staff giving the vaccine are trained to deal with allergic reactions and treat them immediately.
Reports of extremely rare blood clots
The MHRA is carrying out a detailed review of reports of an extremely rare blood clotting problem affecting a small number of people who have had the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
The problem can also happen in people who have not been vaccinated and it's not yet clear why it affects some people.
The COVID-19 vaccine can help stop you getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19. For people aged 40 or over and those with other health conditions, the benefits of being vaccinated with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh any risk of clotting problems.
For people under 40 without other health conditions, it's currently advised that it's preferable to have another COVID-19 vaccine instead of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
Call 111 immediately if you get any of these symptoms starting from around 4 days to 4 weeks after being vaccinated:
- a severe headache that is not relieved with painkillers or is getting worse
- a headache that feels worse when you lie down or bend over
- a headache that's unusual for you and occurs with blurred vision, feeling or being sick, problems speaking, weakness, drowsiness or seizures (fits)
- a rash that looks like small bruises or bleeding under the skin
- shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling or persistent abdominal (tummy) pain
Find out more about COVID-19 vaccination and blood clotting on GOV.UK.
Report a side effect
You can report any suspected side effect using the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Yellow Card safety scheme.
Report a vaccine side effect on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Yellow Card website