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What consumers should expect when getting a COVID-19 vaccine

Experts hope that having all the facts will help ease any concerns about getting vaccinated

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Distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine has started in the last few weeks across the U.S. As more consumers are given the opportunity to be vaccinated in the coming weeks, it’s important to know what to expect from the process. 

In an effort to ease any concerns about the vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has compiled a concise list of what consumers should know about the vaccination experience from start to finish. 

“Because COVID-19 is a new disease with new vaccines, you may have questions about what happens before, during, or after your appointment to get vaccinated,” the agency writes. “These tips will help you know what to expect when you get vaccinated, what information your provider will give you, and resources you can use to monitor your health after you are vaccinated.”  

Being prepared for the vaccination process

Below is a list of several points that consumers should be aware of when going through the COVID-19 vaccination process.

Pre-vaccination

Prior to getting vaccinated, the CDC recommends that consumers understand how the COVID-19 vaccines work to protect against the virus and the overall benefits of being vaccinated. 

The agency says that the vaccine primes the body to be able to fight the virus without having to be infected or injected with the virus itself. Once vaccinated, it takes the body two to three weeks to produce white blood cells that fight against COVID-19. After that point, the body should know how to safely fight off the virus if it is exposed to it.

Getting vaccinated

The COVID-19 vaccine requires consumers to receive two full doses in order to be as protected as possible from the virus. To help keep track of vaccination records, consumers will receive a vaccination card that includes information on when and where the vaccine was administered, what type of vaccine was given, and the date of the appointment for the second round of the vaccine. 

Post-vaccine

Many consumers have expressed concerns about the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines, but the CDC explained that there are protocols in place to monitor patients’ health immediately following vaccination. While allergic reactions have been found to be rare and unlikely, patients must remain on-site for 15 to 30 minutes so health care officials can ensure that no reaction occurs. 

In the case of an allergic reaction, vaccination sites have been prepared with the proper medications and tools to treat patients, and emergency services can be called if necessary. 

Expect side effects

Consumers should also know that it’s common to experience mild side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Several reports have indicated that patients feel soreness and swelling at the injection site, and others have experienced headaches, fatigue, or low-grade fevers in the days that follow. The CDC encourages consumers to follow simple, at-home remedies for any of these side effects, but if any ailments persist for more than a few days, consumers should contact their doctors. 

Perhaps one of the most important things to be mindful of post-vaccine is that other preventative measures are still just as necessary. The CDC urges consumers to continue practicing social distancing, wearing masks, and washing their hands; though the vaccine is beneficial in protecting against COVID-19, all of these efforts in conjunction with each other are the best defenses against the virus. 

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