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What to do, and not do, before and after your Covid vaccine shot

Getting ready for Covid-19 Vaccine

Sprints to get people vaccinated against the deadly novel coronavirus have been running all around the world. As you plan to get your shot, here are 10 things experts recommend doing — and avoiding.

DO: Get your vaccine when it’s your turn.

Through contacting the state or local health department, you should find out when it is your turn to be vaccinated and how to register in your area. Check if your health department released any website or app regarding covid vaccine registration.

DON’T: Let misinformation on vaccines cloud your judgment.

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Social media is filled with misinformation about both Covid-19 and the vaccines that are available to prevent it. If you have questions about the vaccine, get educated, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is just one of many reputable organizations with vetted, science-based facts about the virus and available vaccines.

DO: Get vaccinated if you’ve already had Covid-19.

Covid-19 reinfection is entirely possible, the CDC states, so everybody, including those who have already had the disease, needs to get a coronavirus vaccine. If you were given monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma while sick with Covid-19, you should wait 90 days after treatment before getting the vaccine, the CDC advises.

DON’T: Get a shot if you currently have or have been exposed to Covid-19.

If you have tested positive for Covid-19 or have been exposed to someone with the disease, you should not go to the vaccination site to get your shot until your symptoms and isolation period have passed, said Dr. Michael Ison, a professor in the division of infectious diseases and organ transplantation at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

“Quite simply, you don’t want to get people who are waiting in line sick. You don’t want to get the health care staff sick,” Ison said.

DO: Get the shot even if you still have Covid symptoms months later.

According to vaccine scientist Dr. Peter Hotez, professor and dean at the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Don’t let your ongoing reactions keep you from getting the shot.

“We think long-haul symptoms are not due to active virus infection, but to prolonged inflammatory responses to the virus,” Hotez said.

DON’T: Get another type of vaccine within 14 days of the Covid-19 shot.

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According to CDC, you should wait at least 14 days before or after getting another vaccine, including flu or shingles shot, to get a Covid-19 vaccination, the CDC says. However, if you have mistakenly received another vaccine during that two-week span, you should complete the Covid-19 series on schedule.

DO: Tell vaccine staff about any allergies or past allergic reactions.

It’s rare, but since being given the Moderna and Pfizer mRNA vaccines, a few people have had moderate-to-severe allergic reactions, so be sure to tell the nurse about any previous allergic reactions at the vaccination site.

Dr. Saju Mathew, an Atlanta-based primary care physician, and public health specialist said, If you do have a history of immediate or severe allergic reactions to vaccines or other injections, try to have an EpiPen on hand.

DON’T: Drive away before your 15- to 30-minute wait is up.

Before driving away, the CDC mandates that anyone receiving a coronavirus vaccination wait 15 minutes in their vehicle.

If you have a history of serious allergic reactions, you will have to sit in your car for 30 minutes to make sure that you are safe to drive. Compared to the risks of an adverse reaction of dizziness or worse while driving, these are minor inconveniences, experts say.

DO: Get your second shot of vaccine within the prescribed time frame.

Getting a second shot of the vaccine is needed to be sure that you have protection, according to Baylor’s Hotez.

“In looking at Phase 1, Phase 2 data, what I saw with a single dose is some people had high levels of virus-neutralizing antibody, others were nonresponders,” he said. “So the major reason for the second dose is to get everybody to respond. If you just get a single dose, you don’t really know where you stand.”

The CDC says, Pfizer-BioNTech doses should be administered 21 days apart, while the second Moderna dose is administered 28 days after the first. Do not take the second dose at an early stage.

DO: Continue wearing masks and practicing social distancing after your shots.

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Continue to wear your masks and practice appropriate social distancing after both your first and second doses of vaccine, the CDC says.

The first dose will not produce an immune response that is adequate to defend you or others. Depending on the vaccine, the second dose can provide approximately 95 percent safety within one to two weeks of administration.

However, the CDC says, even after you are fully vaccinated you may still be a silent carrier of the coronavirus.

“We … don’t yet know whether getting a COVID-19 vaccine will prevent you from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to other people,” the CDC says.

So to protect others, continue to wear a mask over your nose and mouth, stay at least 6 feet away from others, avoid crowds and crowded and poorly ventilated spaces, and wash your hands often for at least 20 full seconds.

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