Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is a critical step toward protecting you from the virus, but remember — its effect isn’t immediate. Getting vaccinated also doesn’t mean you can let up on those important safety measures. Here’s what to know and what to do after you get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Get your second dose, if applicable.
If this is your first dose and the vaccine you are receiving requires two doses, make sure you get the second dose at the appropriate time. You should get your second dose as close to the recommended interval as possible. Learn more about the different types of vaccines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) here.
Keep wearing a mask.
It takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines that require two shots may not protect you until a week or two after your second shot. We also don’t yet know if you can transmit the virus after you’ve been vaccinated. So, continue to wear a mask, physically distance from others and wash your hands often, even after vaccination. For more specific guidelines on life after vaccination, consult these CDC post-vaccination guidelines.
Care for side effects.
While mild side effects are to be expected, the likelihood of experiencing severe side effects is less than .5%. Side effects may feel like the flu and even affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. You may take an over-the-counter pain reliever after getting vaccinated for mild side effects like soreness or fever (as long as your doctor has told you they are safe for you).
To reduce pain or discomfort around the injection area:
- Apply a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the area.
- Use or exercise your arm.
To reduce discomfort from fever:
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Dress lightly.
If you do experience side effects, you can use your smartphone to tell the CDC about any side effects by logging them through v-safe. You will receive a set of instructions for how to sign up for v-safe at your vaccine appointment. V-safe will also remind you to get your second dose. Participating in v-safe is voluntary but an important way you can support this global vaccination effort. If you think you might be having a severe allergic reaction or an emergency after leaving the vaccination site, call 911.
Tell your doctor.
If you are a current Baylor Scott & White patient and got vaccinated at a non-Baylor Scott & White facility, upload vaccination proof to MyBSWHealth or take it to your next doctor’s visit. As vaccination continues, it’s important for your doctor to have this information on file.
To achieve herd immunity against COVID-19, experts suggest we’ll need at least 70% of the population immunized. You can help the effort by sharing your experience and encouraging your friends and family to get vaccinated.
- Share your experience on social media with #GotTheShot.
- Educate those around you with trustworthy resources like these:
Visit our COVID-19 vaccine page for the latest updates. We will continue to keep you informed and empowered with the facts while we work to vaccinate as many Texans as possible.