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Preparing for COVID-19 Vaccination

April 22, 2021

As more people become eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines* across the country, knowing how to prepare for your vaccination and what to expect during and after your appointment can help put your mind at ease.

Before vaccination

  • Visit to find vaccination sites close to you that are accepting appointments.
  • Avoid taking over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or aspirin immediately before or after vaccination. The impact of these medications on vaccine effectiveness is unknown and they are not likely to help prevent any side effects.
  • Do not take antihistamines in an attempt to prevent an allergic reaction to your vaccination. Experts say this will not prevent a reaction but it can make a reaction harder to diagnose if one occurs.
  • Rest. One possible side effect of the vaccines is tiredness, so resting well before your appointment may help offset that tired feeling.
  • Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated will help with your overall wellness, especially if you experience side effects after vaccination.

During your COVID vaccine appointment

  • Wear your mask.
  • Be sure you receive a vaccination card with the date and location of your vaccination, as well as the name of the vaccine you received.
  • Ask if you need a second COVID shot and how to make that appointment. You may be able to schedule it before you leave.
  • Be prepared to stay at your vaccination site for monitoring following your appointment, if needed. This may take 15 to 30 minutes.
Your COVID vaccination site may have special instructions for when you should arrive for your appointment and what to do once you’re there, so check for those instructions when scheduling.

After vaccination

  • Prepare to experience side effects such as fever, muscle pain, tiredness, or headache for up to a week after being vaccinated. This is a normal response and means that your body is building its immunity. You may also notice soreness, redness, or swelling on your arm where you received your shot.
  • Register with V-safe on your smartphone. V-safe is an after vaccination health checker that allows you to quickly report any vaccine side effects to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Be sure to follow guidelines from the CDC on what activities are safe to take part in once you’re fully vaccinated.
  • Continue wearing a mask and social distancing in public to protect others.

Visit for additional updates and information on the vaccines, including part one and part two of our COVID-19 vaccines myths and facts series.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website:
* Please visit the CDC's website for more information about the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, including information about a very small number of reports involving a rare and severe type of blood clot in people who have received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. No one has reported similar blood clotting events associated with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. If you have questions about COVID-19 vaccines, please talk to your doctor.

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Stay informed by checking these resources for up-to-date information about COVID-19, especially if you’re thinking about traveling.