Some people are worried about side effects. Others think the vaccine was developed too quickly, therefore making it less effective or even harmful. However, most experts agree that getting more people to take the vaccine is the fastest way to get through the pandemic.
While no vaccine is free of risk, most medical professionals believe the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh any potential risk. Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine have widely been determined to be safe by experts.
For most adults, the vaccine can protect you from developing the COVID-19 illness. It may also keep you from spreading the illness to others. As more and more people get vaccinated, the spread of the virus will slow dramatically. At a certain point, herd immunity will develop, essentially ending the pandemic. While COVID-19 may survive in some form, it is likely widespread illness will no longer occur once herd immunity is reached. This is the ultimate goal of mass vaccinations.
There are those, however, who should delay or avoid getting the vaccine. Those recently exposed to or who have recently recovered from COVID-19 should wait until all acute symptoms of the illness have passed. Those who have a history of severe allergic reactions may also want to forego the vaccine, especially if they are allergic to any active ingredients in the vaccine.
Opinions are mixed on whether the vaccine is safe for pregnant women or those breastfeeding. If you fall into this category, you may want to wait for more data to be released before going in for the vaccine. Finally, the safety of the vaccine has not been extensively studied in children and adolescents, so those who have not yet reached adulthood should not get vaccinated at this time.
Before you schedule your vaccine, you may need to confirm you are eligible to get vaccinated at this time. Due to limited initial supply, the elderly and high-risk individuals were given priority for the vaccine. However, the vaccine supply has been ramping up since the beginning of the new year, and many states say the vaccine will be available for all adults in April or May.
Each state has its own plan for the vaccine rollout; you can find more information here. If you are ready to schedule your vaccine, the CDC has developed a vaccine provider locator. You can also talk to your local doctor or healthcare provider for more information.
If you have a vaccine scheduled, it is always helpful to have adequate information before you go in. You may want to research which vaccine you will be given and whether it is administered in a single dose or in two separate shots.
You’ll also want to review your appointment details before you arrive. Bring any required documentation or an appointment confirmation to avoid delays.
On the day of your vaccine, plan to wear a short sleeve-shirt so the upper arm is easily accessible. Drink plenty of water before and after the shot. It is also a good idea to avoid alcohol the night before getting the shot. Being well hydrated may reduce feelings of unease immediately after the shot is administered.
Finally, decide beforehand which arm to get the shot in. It ultimately does not matter which arm you receive the shot in, though many people prefer their non-dominant arm since swelling and discomfort can sometimes occur.
Immediately after the vaccine shot, you should wait about 15 minutes before leaving the site so the healthcare professionals can monitor you. You want to wait to drive until you are sure you are not dizzy, faint, or experience some other adverse reaction.
You will receive a vaccination card that includes information on the type of vaccine administered and the date and time. It is important to keep this card for your records.
Be prepared for common vaccine side-effects. You may experience discomfort or swelling of the arm where the shot was administered. Some people may also experience the following:
Be advised that the side effects following the second dose of the vaccine are often more intense than the first. Although these side effects may disrupt your day, it’s important to remember that the side effects are often a good sign that the body is building protection against the virus. If side-effects persist after several days, contact your doctor.
It is generally accepted to be ok to take pain-relievers after the vaccine if needed. However, you should talk to your healthcare provider before taking such measures.
Finally, it’s a good idea to get a good night’s sleep both before and after the vaccine dose. This can ensure a quick recovery from any side effects.
Remember that it takes time to develop full protection from the COVID-19 disease. You will be considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the second shot for the Pfizer-BioNtech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, or 2 weeks after the single-dose J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.
The COVID-19 vaccine has been approved as safe for most adults. If you qualify for a vaccine and are not at risk of adverse health effects, you should take it. Doing your part to reduce the spread of COVID-19 is good for everyone.
If you still have concerns about getting the vaccine, do research using reputable sources and consult your health professional. Be wary of advice from unreliable online sources or those who are not health professionals. If enough people take the route of vaccination, the end of the pandemic may well be close at hand.
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