This page contains information about the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Novavax. More information about side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines can be found in the CBG-MEB Medicines Information Bank, the website of the Pharmacovigilance Centre Lareb, and on

You can report side-effects of the COVID-19 vaccine (in Dutch) to the Pharmacovigilance Centre Lareb.

If you experience serious symptoms after vaccination, contact your GP if necessary.

Most common side-effects of the COVID-19 vaccines

Side effects such as fever, headache and tiredness occur after vaccination with COVID-19 vaccines in a significant proportion of those who are vaccinated. Side effects such as muscle pain, joint pain, chills, nausea and vomiting may also occur after vaccination with COVID-19 vaccines. These symptoms start within a day or so after vaccination and go away by themselves, but can be unpleasant. The number of people who experience these side effects after vaccination differs depending on which vaccine they received. 

For a complete overview of the possible side effects, see the vaccine package leaflets.

Medications for side effects

You can take paracetamol to relieve the symptoms. Do not take more than the amount stated in the paracetamol package leaflet. If you are concerned even so, you can contact your family doctor.

Myocarditis and pericarditis 

In rare cases, inflammatory diseases of the heart may occur following vaccination with Pfizer or Novavax: myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) or pericarditis (inflammation of the outer lining of the heart). 

The incidence of myocarditis and pericarditis ranges between 1 and 10 in 100,000 people per year. The risk of side-effects also depends on the age of the person and on the vaccine. These rare cases of myocarditis and pericarditis are seen most often in boys and younger men between 12 and 40 years old. 
Myocarditis and pericarditis mostly start within the first 7 days after vaccination, and more likely to occur after the second vaccination than after the first. The risk of developing myocarditis and pericarditis after a subsequent vaccination is low.

Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain and a forceful heartbeat that may sometimes be irregular. The symptoms can vary significantly and usually improve on their own or can be treated effectively with medication. People who have these symptoms should consult their doctor.


It is possible for a severe allergic reaction (anaphylactic shock) to occur immediately after vaccination. Fortunately, anaphylactic shock is very rare. However, observation for at least 15 minutes after vaccination is still important.

Are you allergic to one or more of the ingredients in the vaccine? Or did you have a severe allergic reaction after the first vaccination which was probably caused by the vaccine? Then the doctor at the vaccination centre may send you to your GP.  If necessary, the GP can refer you to an allergist for assessment. The allergist will advise whether it is safe for the vaccination to be administered by the Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs).