Second shot and the side effects

I’ve been reading about different people having different experiences after getting their second shot, so thought we could have one place to share.

I haven’t had my second shot yet but it is always good to know what might happen.

Moderate body aches, low level nausea were the main 2 symptoms. It was day 2 that they hit, after the 2nd injection and those lasted the entire day. Fit as a fiddle on day 3, no residual side effects. Also not much of anything on the first day (day of injection). Day 2 sucked but could be worse, I slept through that day as much as I could.

Good idea, Jane.

It’s gonna be useful if people also state which vaccine they had.


You are right! It would be very helpful to know which vaccines were used, thank you for the reminder.

Got my 2nd Pfizer shot on 2/3, the arm was more sore, I had mild myalgias and arthralgias with mild headache about 18 hours to 36 hours after the dose, that was it. Not bad, I took a nap to deal with it, that and tylenol. First shot gave me next to no side effects.

We finally got some doses for my patients over 65, enough to vaccinate 7 of them this Wednesday past. Pfizer also. We’ll be tracking their symptoms.

2nd Pfizer shot on Friday. Minimal arm soreness.

Second dose of the Pfizer vaccine on January 27 and really no side effects as far as I could tell. Maybe some slight soreness at the injection site.

Moderna here. I got #2 mid-morning, by early afternoon my arm was sore. They told us to hydrate, so I had about 3 liters of water throughout the day. By that evening my arm was actually starting to hurt. I took ibuprofen and a hot shower, which helped. I was a bit more tired than usual that evening, and was a bit colder than warranted for February. I think I would’ve slept fine, but my dog got me up in the middle of the night.

The next morning I was a touch more tired than usual, and my arm was getting sore again. I got a large coffee and took more ibuprofen. I was kept pretty busy with work, so early afternoon when I actually had a chance to think about it, I realized I felt 100% fine. I would say my symptoms resolved something like 25-30 hours after the shot.

I had checked a couple times and never had a fever through any of that.

Just so people are aware, there is some discussion about whether taking an NSAID medication could potentially reduce the efficacy of the inoculation. There is little hard evidence for it (you’d have to periodically measure antibody titers while taking regular doses of acetaminophen or ibuprofen with a large enough population to account for the person-to-person variability in immunogenicity, and I have not seen any study that has done this) but the point of NSAIDs is to reduce reactivity and/or sensitivity. The CDC guidance is not to take NSAIDs prior to inoculation but it is okay to take them after in response to pain or inflammation:

There is some recent research and guidance before and after receiving an influenza vaccine which recommends against taking NSAIDs, and a minority view among physicians that NSAIDs should be avoided for the treatment of normal respiratory and influenza infections in general on the basis that is suppresses the body’s natural responses to infection, but again I haven’t seen any hard evidence that it makes a difference in the severity of the progression or apparent rate of clearance. I generally avoid NSAIDs because I find they can cause some measure of GI distress and rarely do much for me in terms of alleviating discomfort; the only exception being when exerting myself at high altitudes where aspirin or ibuprofen can help reduce inflammation, but even then I don’t pop a tablet every couple of hours the way I used to because I’ve (mostly) learned to pace myself and take the time to become acclimated to altitude.


Wife has had both Pfizer shots. She was slightly draggy on day three after the first shot. No effects noted on the second shot at all.

She is partly immunocompromised, so it’s uncertain how effective the vaccination may have been. They tell us her lack of side effects might, or might not, be a sign of weak effectiveness in her case. Gee thanks Doc. Though we understand that there just isn’t data (yet) on odd cases such as hers. So we approached it as “Probably can’t hurt; probably will help (some)”. Yo pays yo money …

I think you need to plan for the possibility of significant effects, i.e., don’t get the shot the day before your once-in-a-lifetime trip to Mars.

ObAnecdote (NOT data): when I got the second Shingrix, I was down HARD for 24 hours. I noted that I did fewer steps that day than a few months before, when I had surgery and wasn’t supposed to be moving.

FTR, doesn’t mean I’m sorry I got it. Better one day than many, of course.

I first read of this idea late last year, so I e-mailed the question to my doc before I got the flu shot. Here is my question and the doctor’s somewhat vague answer:

I had absolutely no side effects from my second shot. But I’ve had just about every vaccine you can think of over the years and nary a side effect, so I was not surprised. Some of my colleagues experienced fever or nausea, some bad enough to put them out of action for a day or so, but then it passed.

The Shingrix vax was widely reported to have moderately bothersome side-effects in some non-negligible number of people. And now the Covid vax is widely predicted to have bothersome side-effects comparable to the Shingrix vax.

I don’t recall having any side-effects at all to the Shingrix vax beyond mild soreness in the arm. So I’m hoping the Covid vax will be the same for me.

There is a lot of good info here, thank you all.

My first shot was Moderna and while the shot was just like getting a shot, my shoulder didn’t get sore until I took the bandage off. Then it hurt like a tetanus shot and I couldn’t sleep on my left side for a night. I’m planning on leaving the bandage ON after I get my second shot.

Don’t laugh, some placebos if you believe hard enough!

(I’m just talking minor stuff, not cancer. I believe that a glass of milk before bed helps me sleep. If I don’t get a glass of milk before going to bed, I seem to have problems getting to sleep. IMHO, that means that my placebo is working because I believe. Hopefully, leaving the bandage on will work as well.)

My wife was fluish for a evening and her arm hurt- a lot.

I am getting #2 tuesday, i will let you know…

Moderna for us both.

Shinlex kicked my ass for a day both times.

Not only might YMMV, but my own experience differed from one tetanus shot to another. I’ve had 5 over the last 50 years. 4 of them were no sweat at all. But one time, my whole arm got wicked sore from my wrist to my shoulder. I couldn’t lie on it, I couldn’t do anything with that arm, and it stayed like that for a week. Go figure.

I had the same issue with Shingrix, achy as hell after shot #2. I get my 2nd Moderna shot on March 1. March 2 I’m having a colonoscopy so I’m gonna feel crappy anyway from the prep, I hope the COVID shot doesn’t cause side effects. We’ll see, I’ll deal with it.

A friend was knocked on her ass for several days after #2. Don’t know which vaccine she had - she’s in Israel, if anyone happens to know which one(s) are used there.

I’m 2+ weeks away from getting #2, myself. I assume that since I got Pfizer the first time, I’ll get that for the booster (though our county health department). My arm was ouchy enough after the first one - though not until the morning after - that I took ibuprofen twice that second day. Generally an issue if I reached for something with that arm, or if I leaned against something.

Moderna for me.

The first shot barely affected me. The day after, I was vaguely uncomfortable, but I could not even describe a specific symptom.

I got the second shot just before lunchtime on Thursday. At 2:00am Friday morning I woke up hurting. My bones ached. I felt like I was freezing. I presume I had a fever. Once I got enough blankets to keep warm, I got back to sleep. Sort of.

I spent Friday curled up in a ball, whimpering. Friday afternoon, I took some cold medicine (generic version of Nyquil, mostly acetaminophen). That put me to sleep. Saturday morning I was much better, and by the afternoon, I was mostly back to normal.