What to Expect After Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine

This post has been reviewed by Dr. Animesh Banerjee, MBBS, MS, FRCSI, FRCS (ORL-HNS).

So you have made it to the other side of your vaccine dose. Congrats! But the fight is not over yet. Here’s everything you will need to know about life after your vaccine shot. 

If at any point, you feel you need more explanation please reach out to us on email at hello@even.in.

What are the common side effects? 

Your vaccine may produce some common side effects after you get your dose. They usually arise in the first few days from getting the vaccine and tend to not last for longer than 3-4 days. 

If you do end up suffering from side effects, don’t worry! This means that your body is producing the antibodies required to protect you from Covid-19. If you don’t experience any side effects, the vaccine is still working. You just have a different way of reacting to the antibodies. 

Very common side effects (1 in 10 people) include:

  • tenderness, pain, warmth, redness, itching, swelling or bruising where the injection is given. Put a clean, wet cloth over the area of injection to reduce these symptoms.
  • generally feeling unwell
  • feeling tired (fatigue)
  • chills or feeling feverish
  • headache
  • feeling sick (nausea)
  • joint pain or muscle ache

Common (1 in 100) side effects include:

  • a lump at the injection site
  • fever
  • being sick (vomiting)
  • flu-like symptoms, such as high temperature, sore throat, runny nose, cough and chills

What should I do if my side effects aren’t going away? 

Common side effects can take up to 3-4 days to completely settle. If you are still experiencing side effects after, then we recommend that you talk to your doctor to ensure that everything is okay. 

Painkillers are okay to take if you need to ease symptoms, however it is recommended to only take them when you feel it’s absolutely necessary. 

Are there any side effects that I should take more seriously?

There is an extremely rare chance that you may develop blood clots after receiving the Covishield vaccine dose. If you have any of the symptoms of blood clots listed below, you should seek medical assistance as soon as you start to feel them:

  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • swelling in your leg
  • persistent abdominal (belly) pain
  • neurological symptoms, including severe and persistent headaches or blurred vision
  • tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the site of injection
  • Redness or tenderness where you got the shot gets worse after 24 hours

While this can be scary when it happens, experts state that the benefits of getting vaccines substantially outweigh the risks associated with blood clots. It has only affected a very small number of people, while tens of millions of vaccines have been administered globally.

Do I get a vaccination certificate after I get my first dose from the Even vaccination centre?

Yes! Once you receive the first dose of shot, the government issues a provisional vaccination certificate which carries all the basic details- name, age, gender, and also all the details of vaccination -vaccine name, date of receiving the first dose. The Covid-19 vaccination certificate can be downloaded both from the CoWin portal as well as from the Aarogya Setu app.

How to download Covid vaccination certificate from CoWin?

  • Visit the official website of CoWin
  • Click on the Sign In/Register button
  • Sign in using your registered mobile number and then enter the one-time password (OTP) received.
  • Once you log in, there will be a Certificate tab under your name.
  • Click on the download button to get the soft copy of your vaccination certificate.

How to download Covid vaccination certificate from Aarogya Setu?

  • Open the Aarogya Setu app on your phone.
  • Sign in using your mobile number.
  • Click on the CoWin tab at the top.
  • Enter your 13-digit beneficiary reference ID after clicking on the Vaccination Certificate option (this number is given at the time of vaccine registration). 
  • Click on the download button to get your vaccination certificate.

The certificate is very important so don’t forget to download it once you get your first dose. On completion of the second dose, you will receive a message for completion of the vaccination schedule. The message will include a link to download a digital certificate of vaccination.

How long do I wait till my second dose? 

For Covishield, the government guideline states that you must wait a minimum of 84 days before you are able to receive your second dose. However this may change as vaccine supplies increase/decrease. Be on the look out for any change in advice here.

Am I protected from the virus immediately after my dose? 

Sadly not. After the 1st dose, you’ve not yet completed the vaccination process and are still at reasonable risk of contracting the virus. 

After the second dose, it takes around 2 weeks to develop  full immunity against Covid-19. Until that 2 week mark, assume that you are just as susceptible to catching the virus as you were before getting the vaccine shot. 

So make sure you keep wearing a mask, wash your hands, and stay 6 feet away from others.

Can I still catch Covid-19 after getting fully vaccinated?

Unfortunately no covid-19 vaccine developed has shown 100% effectiveness. This means that even after getting both doses, you may still end up getting coronavirus. In India, only 0.04% of those vaccinated have tested positive for coronavirus. It’s possible, but it’s extremely rare.

The vaccine does bring one additional crucial benefit- protection from more severe forms of coronavirus. So even if you do end up contracting covid after getting vaccinated, you are extremely unlikely to experience serious symptoms that we have seen over the past year. It could be that you catch coronavirus but don’t feel any symptoms at all. 

Can I be a carrier for the virus and spread it to others, even though I’m fully vaccinated?

Yes, this is extremely important to remember. Since it is technically still possible for you to contract covid but not experience any symptoms, it means that you can also unknowingly infect others. For this reason, it is still advised to keep wearing a mask, keeping 6ft away from others, and washing your hands regularly. 

The good news here is that you can safely hang out indoors with others who have also been fully vaccinated! 

That’s all, folks!

So, you’re on your way to immunity, but don’t plan any huge parties just yet! There are still many Indians who have not yet had the chance to get vaccinated. We owe it to them to continue with precautions in place. Yes, that includes masks on, hands washed, and social distancing maintained. 

On the bright side,  being vaccinated is a stepping stone into normalcy. As more people get their doses, we start getting closer and closer to a future where you can check off everything on your post-pandemic bucket list.  

See you on the other side! 

Stay healthy

Team Even.

Contact us for any questions you may have at: hello@even.in

Design credits: Sanjana Hegde