Why Your COVID Vaccine Injection Site Is Itchy

Though many of the most common side effects of a COVID-19 vaccine are well publicized, that doesn't stop us from feeling worried when we start to experience one or multiple of them ourselves. After all, hearing about possible side effects that happened to others doesn't quite feel as real as when you yourself are experiencing a specific reaction. Of all the general — and sometimes not so general — reactions that can occur, there is one side effect that makes you literally want to scratch. We're talking about itchy skin. Which is often a symptom of what mainstream media has dubbed "COVID arm" or "Moderna arm."

Insider shares that the itchy skin often occurs around the injection site of your vaccine. It can also spread to other areas of your body. And it can also come as a surprise, as it is a symptom that can reveal itself days after receiving a vaccination. Annoying? Yes. Something to be worried about? Luckily, no. Itchy skin around your vaccine injection site and on other areas of your body is most likely caused from hypersensitivity or a mild allergic reaction to the vaccine. The Washington Post concurs, noting many experts agree that itchy skin, along with other skin reactions, likely represent an immune system response.

So, is a post vaccination itch a sign I shouldn't get my second dose?

Skin reaction shouldn't prevent you from getting your second dose

Most likely, no. Esther Freeman, M.D., Ph.D, director of Global Health Dermatology at MGH and associate professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School, tells The Washington Post why skin reactions shouldn't keep people from getting their second vaccination dose. "These reactions are unusual and generally mild, and typically resolve on their own or with over-the-counter treatment," she says. Adding, "Even though skin reactions to a vaccine can look scary, most are not severe or long-lasting, and show us that your body likely is developing a nice strong immune response to the vaccine, which is a good thing."

Luckily, there is a very effective method you can try if you are bothered by temporary itchy skin. Praveen Buddiga, M.D., an immunologist based in the San Fernando Valley, explains via Insider the best way to treat the red and itchy skin around your injection site and in all other areas. "Just use the method of putting ice on it, drink a lot of water, and stretch that arm and it'll go away in less than 24 hours," he says.

We agree that itchy skin can be an uncomfortable side effect. Though we're happy to report that it is most likely not a cause for worry. Of course, if you are still feeling worried by any symptoms you are experiencing post vaccination, then call your health care provider and share your concerns.