Man Coughing Image
Preventive Health Care

COVID-19 Symptoms Changing Along with the Virus

When COVID-19 first struck, people were on alert for symptoms like fatigue, muscle and body aches, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, loss of smell, fever, and shortness of breath.

In the same way the virus that causes COVID-19 has developed variants, the symptoms that appear with the disease vary as well. They have also changed as more people have gotten vaccinated. The level of vaccination plays a hand in how the illness presents itself according to a recent research study.

Covid Symptoms Image

Common Symptoms

Participants in the research study seemed to share some symptoms regardless of their vaccination status. The severity, duration, and complications varied however depending on whether they were unimmunized, partially vaccinated, or fully vaccinated.

According to the study, the most common symptoms among all groups were a sore throat, runny nose, persistent cough, and headache. Fully vaccinated participants reported fewer symptoms lasting less time.

Fully Vaxed

The top five symptoms ranked from most to least reported among fully vaccinated participants were:

  1. Sore throat
  2. Runny nose
  3. Stuffy nose
  4. Persistent cough
  5. Headache

One Dose

The top five symptoms ranked from most to least reported among participants who received only one dose were:

  1. Headache
  2. Runny nose
  3. Sore throat
  4. Sneezing
  5. Persistent cough


The top five symptoms from most to least among the unvaccinated were:

  1. Headache
  2. Sore throat
  3. Runny nose
  4. Fever
  5. Persistent cough

“Traditional” symptoms like fatigue, aches, nausea, and vomiting and diarrhea were mentioned less frequently among the study subjects. Loss of smell dropped to sixth, fever ranked eighth, and shortness of breath fell to 29th.

As the main symptoms of COVID-19 continue to evolve, symptoms that mimic cold- and flu-like symptoms could be mistaken for other viruses as winter approaches. “We are raising concerns,” said Ilan Shapiro, AltaMed’s Chief Health Correspondent and Medical Affairs Officer. He emphasized the importance of testing and active preventive measures, like immunizations, because different viruses have different treatments.

Get Vaccinated and Tested

AltaMed is making COVID-19 vaccines available in your neighborhood. No appointment is necessary. Anyone 5 years or older, whether they are a patient or not, can get a vaccine, while supplies last. It is FREE regardless of immigration or health insurance status. All locations offer the Pfizer vaccine. Walk-ins are welcome but appointments are encouraged. You may pre-register and book an appointment by calling (888) 499-9303 or visiting my and searching for an AltaMed vaccine event using the event address.


  • Bring a document that includes your first and last name.
  • Masks will be provided to anyone who doesn’t have one.
  • Minors must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine and testing here.

Get started with AltaMed

See how AltaMed Health Services can help your family grow healthy.

Learn More

COVID-19 Symptoms Changing Along with the Virus