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Immunity after vaccination

It takes about two weeks for your body to build up initial protection after your second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Some people who are vaccinated will get sick, but vaccination greatly reduces the chance of hospitalization and death.

Even when you are vaccinated, you should:

  • Wear a mask. For more information, refer to Recommendations for Wearing Masks.

  • Wash your hands often.

  • Stay home if you are sick, especially if you have been around someone who has COVID-19. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested. Learn more at CDC: Symptoms of COVID-19.

  • Do not visit people who have had close contact to someone with COVID-19 and are in quarantine.

  • If you travel, follow CDC requirements and recommendations at Travel During COVID-19.

  • Follow guidance specific to your workplace.

Pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen are effective in managing vaccine side effects including pain where the shot was given, body aches, and fever after you get vaccinated. Cool cloths may relieve the swelling or pain at the injection site. Move or exercise your arm. Take the medicine you usually take when you have pain or fever or follow the instructions of your health care provider.

If you have a severe reaction, contact your health care provider. If it is an emergency, go to a hospital or call 911. Providers should report severe reactions (those that require some type of medical care) to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). This reporting system helps the CDC and FDA continue to monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.


CDC has also launched a new patient reporting tool for COVID-19 vaccine. It is a smartphone app called v-safe. This app can help with active monitoring for COVID-19 vaccine safety after you get the COVID-19 vaccine. Your health care provider will give you more information on v-safe. You can learn more at V-safe After Vaccination Health Checker and access an information sheet and flyers in multiple languages at V-safe Print Resources.

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