Here’s what to expect after your second COVID-19 vaccine dose and what it means to be fully vaccinated.

Coronavirus Updates

Congrats! You're (Almost) Fully Vaccinated

Here’s what to expect after your second COVID-19 vaccine dose and what it means to be fully vaccinated. 

If it’s almost time for your second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, you deserve to celebrate. Cheer, cry happy tears, breathe a sigh of relief – because this is a moment of joyhope and excitement. And if you’re getting the vaccine at an Atrium Health location or event, thank you for letting us be part of such a special day.  

As you look forward to your second dose, we’re here to tell you what to expect and what it means to be fully vaccinated from COVID-19.   

Right after your shot 

  • Like last time, you’ll wait 15 to 30 minutes before leaving the vaccination site. This is a guideline set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and lets us watch for any reaction. 
  • Put your vaccination card somewhere you can find it. It’s your proof of vaccination and shows which COVID-19 vaccine you got. 
  • When you get home, use #IGotTheShot to share the news to social media!  

How the second dose works 

You need both doses to get the vaccine’s full protection. 

The first shot got your immune system ready. It helped your body recognize the virus and fight it if you’re exposed.  

The second shot gives you the vaccine’s full protection. It makes your immune system’s response stronger and better at fighting COVID-19.  

Side effects after the second dose 

Like with other vaccines, you might have minor side effects, which can be more noticeable after the second dose. The most common side effect is pain, redness or swelling at the site of the shot. You may also have: 

  • Chills 
  • Headache 
  • Muscle or joint pain 
  • Tiredness 
  • Low fever 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Nausea or upset stomach 

Side effects might be uncomfortable but should go away within 48 hours, or 2 days. If you want to talk to a clinical team member about a side effect, call 704-468-2000. 

(While everyone’s experience is different, there’s one side effect you can count on: HOPE! It starts right after the second dose and makes the future look so much brighter. You’re going to really like that part. 😊) 

Keep masking up and social distancing 

The COVID-19 vaccine works really well, and it’s the best step to getting us back to normal. 

Based on CDC guidelines, once you’re  fully vaccinated and your body’s protective system has had a chance to fully kick inyou might not need to quarantine if you’re exposed to COVID-19. But you will need to keep wearing your mask, washing your hands and social distancing until we stop the spread of the virus 

Here’s why: 

  • You won’t have full protection from the vaccine for at least 2 weeks. Your body needs time to make enough antibodies to protect you from the virus. 
  • We need to protect those who aren’t vaccinated. The vaccine can keep you from getting sick. But we don’t yet know if it can keep you from carrying and spreading the virus. 
  • We’re still learning about new COVID-19 strains. So far, vaccine studies on the newer strains have shown promising results in protecting against hospitalization or death from COVID-19. But we need to keep staying safe, since we don’t know how well it’ll work against future strains. 

Mask tip! The CDC now recommends wearing a well-fitted mask with 2 or more layers. This should give you more protection than a single layer.  

Most importantly, congratulations! 

The vaccine is the best way to protect yourself from COVID-19. It’ll help us get back to the lives we miss. Thank you for doing your part – and congrats!