Over a year into the pandemic, you may understandably be feeling an overwhelming sense of Coronavirus fatigue, and, rightly so. It has been a long year of social distancing, mask wearing, vigilant hand washing and isolating at home or going into very different workplaces. Life has been upended, and many have suffered. Death and dying that could have been preventable occurred. Most people want a return to normalcy. While taking preventive measures are still important, and we should not let our guard down, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
The vaccine rollout has been accelerating in the country, and perhaps your loved ones, neighbors and fellow community members have already gotten one or two doses of an approved vaccine. As you wait your turn to take your shot, check out the latest tips from the CDC, so you know what to expect before and after getting vaccinated. Then you can be better prepared once eligibility slots open.
Before Getting Vaccinated
- Figure out if the vaccine is right for you. If you have any questions, get in touch with your healthcare provider.
- Check out vaccine benefits. Among other things, getting vaccinated will help keep you from getting the virus, it can help you build protection and it will be helpful in ending the pandemic. Check out the CDC’s website for more information.
- Find out the vaccination eligibility sign up process in your city, state and or county. Mark your calendars for when you are eligible, and do not be discouraged if it takes a bit to get an appointment. Spread the word and tell others when they are eligible. You may be able to get vaccinated sooner depending on your age, occupation, if you have any high-risk health conditions or if you are from an underrepresented population.
- Review the recommendations around taking medicine to ease possible side effects.
- Look over the potential side effects of each vaccine, but rest assured that all of the approved variations are safe and effective.
At Your Appointment
- You will need to keep 6 feet between yourself and others in line.
- You and healthcare staff will need to properly wear Face Coverings so it covers noses and mouths.
- Expect to get a paper or electronic sheet that tells you more about the vaccine you will be getting.
- Plan to wait 10-15 minutes at the site after getting the vaccine to be sure you are good to go.
- Ask your provider about signing up for v-safe, a CDC app that lets you report any side effects and get reminders about a second dose, if applicable.
Remember to wait at least 14 days between getting a COVID-19 vaccine and any additional vaccines, like those for shingles.
If you get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, you will need two doses to be fully vaccinated. If you have side effects after your first dose, ask your healthcare provider if the second dose makes sense for you. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is only one dose. Do not forget to sign up for an appointment and make sure you can make it there when the day arrives.
After Getting a Vaccine
- Learn about common side effects and do what it takes to safely ease the discomfort.
- Be mindful that it takes time for your body to build up protection. 2 weeks after receiving the second or only dose, one is considered “fully vaccinated.”
- Read up about new vaccine developments, as well as the up-to-date guidance on what fully vaccinated individuals can do.
- If you encounter problems signing up for your second dose, contact the sponsoring organization for help.
- Vaccination does not ensure full protection from COVID-19. Continue to limit contact with those from outside your household, socially distance, mask up and wash those hands. Stay tuned for more info from the CDC and other trusted health organizations to get the 411 on which efforts still make sense to do.
- Check county and state guidelines to see what is-and is not allowed-once you are fully vaccinated. If you intend to travel, check guidelines and adhere to them, even for states you are just passing through. Always carry a face mask, gloves and hand sanitizer and be ready to wear and use them. Postpone nonessential travel.
When the time comes, sign up to get vaccinated. Make the right choice for your health, and the health of others, if you can do so health-wise. It will help your family, community and the country get back to a new normal (as a collective) safety. Stay tuned and check the CDC’s website frequently for all the latest. If you do not have time, never fear. We will do our best to fill you in on all things health.