This COVID Vaccine Has the Lowest Rate of Side Effects, Data Shows

Lauren Gray
·3 min read

If you’re gearing up to get your COVID vaccine, you may have some questions about what to expect. It’s no secret that all three of the emergency-approved options come with a serving of side effects, but the good news is that they tend to be only mild to moderate and typically last no more than 48 hours. Compared to contracting COVID itself, it’s a small price to pay for a level of protection that has earned the “extreme confidence” of experts, including White House COVID Advisor Anthony Fauci, MD.

But which vaccine option has the lowest rate of side effects? The data is in, and there’s one jab that seems to outperform the others when it comes to patient comfort. According to clinical trial reports provided by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it’s clear that Johnson&Johnson’s vaccine is the least likely to cause the top four most common complaints: pain at the injection site, fatigue, headache, and muscle soreness.

Because Pfizer and Moderna both offer two-dose vaccination plans, while Johnson&Johnson comes in the form of a single-dose shot, some double-dose recipients have the added inconvenience of experiencing their side effects twice. The FDA’s records show that the second injections also tend to yield a higher rate of side effects, and anecdotally, many people have reported that their symptoms gain intensity the second time around.

So, while experts have urged the public to take whatever vaccine is available to them, there’s no harm in knowing what to expect when you do get your shot. Read on to check out which side effects you're most likely to experience with each vaccine, and to find out how the vaccine may affect you personally, This Is Why Half of People Have Stronger Vaccine Side Effects, CDC Says.

1

Pain at the injection site

Patients who reported the side effect after the first Moderna shot: 86.9 percent
Patients who reported the side effect after the second Moderna shot: 90.1 percent
Patients who reported the side effect after the first Pfizer shot: 83.1 percent
Patients who reported the side effect after the second Pfizer shot: 77.8 percent
Patients who reported the side effect after the Johnson&Johnson shot: 58.6 percent

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2

Fatigue

Patients who reported the side effect after the first Moderna shot: 38.5 percent
Patients who reported the side effect after the second Moderna shot: 67.6 percent
Patients who reported the side effect after the first Pfizer shot: 47.4 percent
Patients who reported the side effect after the second Pfizer shot: 59.4 percent
Patients who reported the side effect after the Johnson&Johnson shot: 44.4 percent

And to learn more about COVID vaccine side effects, check out If You Have These Vaccine Side Effects, Don't Get Another Shot, CDC Says.

3

Headache

Patients who reported the side effect after the first Moderna shot: 35.4 percent
Patients who reported the side effect after the second Moderna shot: 62.8 percent
Patients who reported the side effect after the first Pfizer shot: 41.9 percent
Patients who reported the side effect after the second Pfizer shot: 51.7 percent
Patients who reported the side effect after the Johnson&Johnson shot: 43.8 percent

4

Muscle soreness

Patients who reported the side effect after the first Moderna shot: 23.7 percent
Patients who reported the side effect after the second Moderna shot: 61.3 percent
Patients who reported the side effect after the first Pfizer shot: 21.3 percent
Patients who reported the side effect after the second Pfizer shot: 37.3 percent
Patients who reported the side effect after the Johnson&Johnson shot: 39.1 percent

And for more essential vaccine news, The CDC Just Gave This New Warning About Your Second COVID Shot.