Dr. Fauci Says Your Vaccine Side Effects Shouldn't Last Longer Than This

Worried about the COVID vaccine's side effects? Fauci says they should be short-lived.

Since the COVID vaccines by Moderna and Pfizer were approved in December, medical experts like Anthony Fauci, MD, have been urging everyone who can safely get vaccinated to do so as soon as they're given the opportunity. But Fauci has also been clear that you may experience a few unpleasant side effects as a result of your shots. During a recent interview with medical professionals and officials from Prince George's County, Maryland, Fauci discussed what to expect from the COVID-19 vaccine. Soothing fears that the side effects might be prohibitively severe or long-lasting, he explained that in most cases, they should be mild to moderate, and shouldn't last very long at all—in his case, they were gone within 24 hours.

Fauci said he had the "prototype" experience in regards to vaccine side effects. Just as others have reported, he noted that his own second dose of the COVID vaccine caused a more pronounced reaction, but that his side effects resolved by the following night. Read on to learn what Fauci experienced that you should also expect, and for more on the side effects that are actually cause for concern, check out If You Have These Vaccine Side Effects, Don't Get Another Shot, CDC Says.

Pain at the injection site

Man with shoulder pain
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After both the first and second doses of the vaccine, Fauci shared that his most notable side effect was pain at the injection site. "If I pressed on it, I felt a little ache on the arm," he explained. Fauci's discomfort lasted through the next day, but he said that by the following night, the pain in his arm was gone. And for more on how the newest vaccine may affect you, check out The Side Effects of the New Johnson & Johnson Vaccine.

Muscle aches

Senior man suffering from back pain
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Fauci explained that his second dose of the COVID vaccine triggered more side effects, compared with the first dose. These included "a lower back muscle ache" that made him feel "not 100 percent normal."

However, Fauci said that he still found this symptom to be manageable. "It didn't prevent me from coming to work—I did everything I do normally on a working day. Went to bed, woke up, it got a little bit better the next day and by the following night, I was back to 100 percent normal," he shared. And for more vaccination tips from Fauci, check out Dr. Fauci Says You'll Easily Get a Vaccine Appointment After This Date.


Tired woman yawning
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In addition to muscle aches and pain at the injection site, Fauci said that after his second shot, he experienced some fatigue "towards the evening" on the day of his vaccination. This is a somewhat common response to the COVID vaccine, and experts explain that fatigue is the natural product of your immune system kicking in to fight a perceived viral threat. And for more COVID news sent right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.


Sick man having fever, drinking hot tea and touching forehead
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While Fauci said he did not personally experience a fever after receiving his COVID vaccinations, he acknowledged that some other recipients might. "It's unusual to get a fever, but it has occurred in some people," he explained.

Like fatigue, running a fever after getting your COVID vaccine is actually a sign that it's working to produce a strong immune response. And for more on that, check out Dr. Fauci Says These 2 Side Effects Mean Your COVID Vaccine Is Working.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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