These Are the Most Common Vaccine Side Effects Based on Age, Data Shows

While vaccine reactions are often similar, there are some notable differences.

Whether you've gotten your COVID shot already or you're still waiting for your chance, you've likely heard plenty of commentary from friends, family, and internet strangers about the side effects they experienced post-vaccine. While discussing vaccine side effects can help people know what to expect, it's also important to know that reactions vary widely depending on age, sex, and which vaccine you get.

Recently, Mother Jones made charts using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that break down the most common side effects by age and vaccine. Read on to find out the most common side effects in your age group, and for more on vaccine reactions, discover The Common Vaccine Side Effect That No One Is Talking About, Experts Say.

Pfizer

Pfizer vaccine
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Most common side effects if you're between the ages of 18 and 55: pain at the injection site (78 percent), fatigue (59 percent), headache (52 percent)

Most common side effects if you're over 56: pain at the injection site (66 percent), fatigue (51 percent), headache (39 percent)

And for more vaccine reactions to know about, Be Prepared for This the Night You Get Your COVID Vaccine, Doctors Warn.

Moderna

Moderna
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Most common side effects if you're between the ages of 18 and 64: pain at the injection site (90 percent), fatigue (68 percent), headache (63 percent)

Most common side effects if you're over 65: pain at the injection site (83 percent), fatigue (58 percent), muscle pain (47 percent)

And for more vaccine guidance, Doing This After Your Vaccine Can Make Side Effects Worse, Doctors Say.

Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine
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Most common side effects if you're between the ages of 18 and 59: pain at the injection site (59 percent), fatigue (44 percent), headache (44 percent)

Most common side effects if you're over 60: pain at the injection site (33 percent), fatigue (30 percent), headache (30 percent)

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Other common side effects include muscle pain, fever, nausea, and vomiting.

young woman with nausea covering her mouth
Shutterstock/Onjira Leibe

Although the most common side effects people experience tend to be pain at the injection site, fatigue, headache, and muscle pain, there are other side effects that pop up frequently. Muscle pain was most commonly reported by Moderna recipients, with 61 percent of people aged 18 to 64 and 47 percent of people over 64 reporting the side effect. It was also fairly common among the other vaccines, with 37 percent of the younger cohort and 29 percent of the older Pfizer recipients reporting muscle pain. According to the data, 39 percent of the younger Johnson & Johnson recipients reported muscle pain, while 24 percent of the older group said the same.

Nausea and vomiting are fairly common occurrences for people who receive the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but they're rare occurrences for those who get the Pfizer shot, with less than 3 percent of people reporting it. Fever was not commonly reported across the board, with less than 18 percent of recipients of any vaccine reporting it. That side effect was also less common among the older cohorts. And for more unusual vaccine reactions, find out about The Strange New COVID Vaccine Side Effect That's Confusing Even Doctors.

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Allie Hogan
Allie Hogan is a Brooklyn based writer currently working on her first novel. Read more
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