Global COVID-19 vaccine summary: Side effects

Currently, in various areas of the world, 15 COVID-19 vaccines have been authorized for use. In this feature, we look at the types and their reported side effects.

All data and statistics are based on publicly available data at the time of publication. Some information may be out of date. Visit our coronavirus hub and follow our live updates page for the most recent information on the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the global effort to produce vaccines that can curb the COVID-19 pandemic forges ahead, headlines continue to highlight development breakthroughs and safety concerns.

This article summarizes the known side effects of the 15 authorized vaccines and provides insight into risks that researchers are still investigating.

Stay informed with live updates on the current COVID-19 outbreak and visit our coronavirus hub for more advice on prevention and treatment.

Currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines

The table below gives an overview of the 15 authorized vaccines, categorized by type, based on how they function. It also shows their efficacy.

Each of the following vaccines has received use authorization in at least one country.

NameManufacturerType of vaccineEfficacy rate
BNT162b2 (Comirnaty)Pfizer-BioNTechmRNA95%
Ad26.COV2.SJanssen (Johnson & Johnson)Viral vector66%
AZD1222 (Vaxzevria)Oxford-AstraZenecaViral vector81.3%Trusted Source
Covishield*Serum Institute of IndiaViral vector81.3%
Ad5-nCovCanSinoViral vector65.28%
Sputnik VGamaleyaViral vector91.6%Trusted Source
CovaxinBharat BiotechInactivated80.6%
BBIBP-CorVSinopharm (Beijing)Inactivated79.34%Trusted Source
Inactivated (Vero Cell)Sinopharm (Wuhan)Inactivated72.51%
CoviVac (KoviVac)Chumakov CenterInactivatedUnknown
QazCovid-in (QazVac)Kazakhstan RIBSPInactivatedUnknown
RBD-dimerAnhui Zhifei LongcomProtein subunitUnknown
EpiVacCoronaFBRIProtein subunitUnknown

 Covishield is the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine produced for India.

Common side effects

Vaccines allow the body to build immunity by activating T and B lymphocytes, cells that, respectively, recognize the targeted virus and produce antibodies to combat it.

A vaccine cannot cause COVID-19. No vaccine contains a complete form of the virus responsible for this illness.

While their body builds immunity, it is normal for a person to experience minor side effects.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source and the World Health Organization (WHO)Trusted Source, common side effects of a COVID-19 vaccine include:

  • a fever
  • fatigue
  • headaches
  • body aches
  • chills
  • nausea

A person might also experience side effects around the injection site, which is usually the upper arm. These might include swelling, pain, redness, an itchy rash, and other mild forms of irritation.

Health authorities recognize that each of the 15 authorized COVID-19 vaccines can cause side effects. These are often mild and last for only a few days. They are not unexpected.

Every vaccine facility in the United States has to report specific post-vaccination symptoms, known as adverse events, to the government’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Individuals can also submit reports through the VAERS portal.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)Trusted SourceCDCTrusted Source, and other regulatory agencies are closely monitoring VAERS to scrutinize the safety of the vaccines used in the U.S.

Similar systems are in place in other countries. In the United Kingdom, for example, the scheme is called Yellow Card. The European Union asks people to report suspected side effects to their healthcare practitioners or fill out dedicated online forms.