What to expect following your second COVID-19 vaccination

Over 30 million people in the UK have now been vaccinated against COVID-19 and it is estimated the vaccine has already prevented more than 6,000 deaths from COVID-19.

Following your second dose of the COVID-19 vaccination, you’ll have longer lasting protection from the symptoms of the virus. Here is some advice from our Superintendent Pharmacist to make sure you’re aware of what to do next.

  • The COVID-19 vaccine helps to reduce the chance of you suffering ill effects from the COVID-19 virus.
  • It’s very important to have your second dose of the vaccine even if you experienced mild side effects from the first dose. Having two doses significantly extends your protection against COVID-19 symptoms.
  • You might still be able to catch and pass on the virus to others, even after vaccination, so it is important to continue to protect those around you by wearing a face covering and social distancing.
  • Vulnerable patients who no longer need to shield should continue to be extremely careful. If you, a friend or family member has a health condition, we can help. With free delivery on all NHS prescriptions you can order from the safety of your home and have your medication delivered direct to your door - find out more.
  • There have been very rare reports of blood clots with the AstraZeneca vaccine, and as a precaution people under 30 are being recommended by the NHS to receive a different vaccine instead, for both doses. However, if you are under 30 and you have already had the AstraZeneca vaccine for your first dose, you should continue to have the same vaccine for your second dose. We do not yet know if having a different vaccine for the second dose is effective; and the risk of health issues from COVID-19 are still significant.

Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. Most of these are mild and short term, and not everyone gets them.

Very common side effects include:

  • having a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm where you had your injection. This tends to be worst around 1-2 days after the vaccine
  • feeling tired
  • headaches
  • general aches, or mild flu-like symptoms

You can rest and take paracetamol (follow the advice in the packaging) to help you feel better. Around 1 in 10 people will experience a side effect to some degree, and symptoms following vaccination normally last less than a week. The staff at your vaccination centre are available to ask questions when you visit. If your symptoms seem to get worse or if you are concerned, call NHS 111 for advice.

Phil Day By Phil Day Superintendent Pharmacist Published: 14/04/2021