Millions of people are receiving COVID-19 vaccinations every day. Projections from the United States government estimate that much of the country’s adult population will be fully vaccinated by mid-summer, providing hope that life can soon return to some semblance of normalcy.
After booking a vaccination appointment, take these steps to ensure your vaccination goes smoothly:
n Bring your identification. A photo ID, such as a driver’s license, can be used to verify your name in the vaccination system. Though some vaccination sites may not require photo identification, some are asking for ID in order to confirm vaccine recipients are eligible members of groups currently considered priority. So anyone with photo identification should bring it along to their vaccination appointment.
n Bring your health insurance card. COVID-19 vaccinations are being administered at no cost to individuals. But individuals should still bring their health insurance cards if they have one. That’s because vaccine providers are still billing applicable insurers/government plans for the administration of the vaccine. These charges will not cost individuals anything.
n Wear your mask. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that vaccine recipients and the health care workers administering vaccines will both need to wear masks that cover their noses and mouths during the appointment. The CDC also urges people to remain 6 feet away from others while inside and in line.
n Ask for information about the vaccine you received. The three vaccines currently being administered in the United States are the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. Individuals should receive information about which vaccine they receive. The CDC notes that each COVID-19 vaccine has its own fact sheet that contains information to help recipients understand the risks and benefits of receiving that vaccine.
n Expect to be monitored on-site. After receiving their vaccines, individuals should expect to be monitored on-site. The monitoring period may vary depending on how busy the adminstration site is, but individuals should expect to be monitored for any adverse symptoms for no less than 15 minutes.
n Expect to be given a vaccination card. Recipients of the vaccine will be given vaccination cards indicating which vaccine they received and when and where they received it. Keep card in a safe place.
n Try to book your second appointment. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are two-dose vaccinations, while the Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is a single dose. Individuals who receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine should get their second shot three weeks after their first, while Moderna vaccine recipients should get their second shot four weeks after their first. The CDC advises against getting the second shot earlier than the recommended interval, but notes that the second dose may given up to six weeks after the first dose. Recipients can try to book their second shot during their appointments, but some sites may be unable to do so due to various factors. Recipients should go back to the same vaccination site to receive their second dose.
In New York State, a second dose appointment will be scheduled automatically for the same location as the original dose — and the state will provide a card with the date and time indicated, as well as a confirmation email.
n Learn about the side effects. Vaccine recipients can access information about potential side effects of COVID-19 vaccines at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/expect/after.html. The CDC advises against taking over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, or antihistamines prior to vaccination for the purpose of trying to prevent side effects. If side effects appear after vaccination, individuals are urged to speak with their physicians about how to address them.
For more information about vaccinations, go to www.cdc.gov.