What are the most common side effects from the Pfizer COVID booster shot?

Side effects from COVID booster shots generally resemble the side effects present after a second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the first shot of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine.

In the case of the Pfizer COVID booster shot, the top three side effects reported include injection site reaction, fatigue and muscle aches, according to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study.

About 70% of study participants reported injection site reactions after getting a third booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine, while about half of study participants reported fatigue as a side effect of the shot.

Less than 40% of study participants who received the Pfizer booster reported muscle aches and headaches, the top third and fourth reported symptoms among participants in the study.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved the Pfizer booster in August for those with severely compromised immune systems, including cancer patients and organ transplant recipients.

Since then, the FDA has expanded its emergency use authorization for the Pfizer booster for people ages 65 years and older, individuals between the ages of 18 and 64 who are at high risk for COVID due to underlying medical conditions, or individuals who work in institutions such as healthcare settings that would frequently expose them to COVID, according to an FDA press release in late September.

Related stories about COVID-19:

CDC urges pregnant women to get vaccinated against COVID

How to get a COVID booster shot at CVS or Walgreens

The side effects to look out for if you get a COVID shot

What ingredients are in the COVID vaccines?

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