‘COVID Arm' Describes Side Effect Some Experience After COVID-19 Vaccine

Some people report swollen, red patch emerging days after their COVID-19 shot

NBCUniversal, Inc.

As more and more people get their first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, more and more pictures of skin reactions to the vaccine are popping up on social media.

They're first hand accounts of what's now being called COVID arm.

"It’s happening about seven to 10 days after. It’s mounting an immune response and what we are seeing are swollen red patches on the same arm that you receive the vaccine on," said board-certified dermatologist Dr. Elizabeth Houshmand, FAAD.

The reaction has been mostly associated with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

Health experts aren't sure whether it's a reaction to the spike protein in the mRNA vaccine or a preservative but feel confident that it's a positive response that the immune system is reacting as it should.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association opened up a registry for people to report any skin reactions to the vaccine.

Doctors said, aside from being itchy or tender, the reaction appears to be harmless and tends to go away on its own after a few days.

"It's uncomfortable but I wouldn’t let it stop you from getting the vaccine," said Houshmand.

She recommended an ice pack, pain reliever or antihistamine to relieve itchiness and tenderness.

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