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

It's an all-out sprint to get Americans vaccinated against the deadly novel coronavirus. As you prepare to get your shot, here are 10 actions experts suggest...

Posted: Jan 25, 2021 9:55 AM

It's an all-out sprint to get Americans vaccinated against the deadly novel coronavirus. As you prepare to get your shot, here are 10 actions experts suggest doing -- and avoiding.

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

You should be able to find out when it's your turn to be vaccinated and how to register in your neighborhood by reaching out to your state or local health department. CNN has created a list of state websites, emails and phone numbers for all 50 states and territories. Check there for information on available vaccine registrations in your local area.

DON'T: Let disinformation on vaccines cloud your judgment.

Social media is rife with disinformation about both Covid-19 and the vaccines that are available to prevent it.

If you have doubts about the vaccine, get educated -- the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is just one of many trusted organizations with vetted, science-based facts about the virus and available vaccines.

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

Reinfection with Covid-19 is definitively possible, the CDC says, so everyone needs to get a coronavirus vaccination, including those who have already had the illness.

  • Note: 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. Check with your doctor before scheduling the shot.

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

If you have tested positive for Covid-19 or been exposed to someone who has the illness, 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.

A growing number of people are becoming coronavirus "long-haulers" -- people who continue to suffer fatigue, brain fog, aches, pains, headaches and more for months after the virus has left their systems.

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

"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.

Wait at least 14 days before or after getting another vaccine, including a flu or shingles shot, to get a Covid-19 vaccination, the CDC says.

However, if you inadvertently did get another vaccine within that two-week time frame, you should complete the Covid-19 series on schedule. As more information on how vaccines interact becomes available, the CDC says it may update this guidance.

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

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

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

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

The CDC requires that everyone receiving a coronavirus vaccination wait 15 minutes in their car before driving away. If you have a history of severe allergic reactions, you'll be required to wait 30 minutes in your car to be sure you're safe to drive. Both are a minor inconvenience, experts say, compared to the dangers of an adverse reaction of dizziness or worse while driving.

If you have a serious reaction after leaving the vaccination site call 911, the CDC suggests. All reactions can be reported to a smartphone-based app called V-safe or the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS.

Common reactions to the vaccine are soreness and swelling at the injection site. Sometimes, more typically after the second shot, people may experience such Covid-like signs as fever, fatigue, headache and chills.

DO: Get your second shot of vaccine within the recommended 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 the 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."

Pfizer-BioNTech doses should be given 21 days apart, the CDC says, while the second dose of Moderna is administered 28 days after the first. Do not get your second dose early, but if you have trouble scheduling, waiting a few days after the due date -- and perhaps longer -- for either vaccine should not be an issue, the CDC says.

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

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 enough of an immune response to protect you or others. The second dose should provide approximately 95% protection within one to two weeks after administration, depending on the vaccine.

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.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 308111

Reported Deaths: 7122
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20826248
Hinds19910411
Harrison17510302
Rankin13334276
Jackson13118243
Madison9908210
Lee9871170
Jones8297160
Forrest7525147
Lauderdale7198237
Lowndes6272144
Lamar611084
Lafayette6039117
Washington5281133
Bolivar4772129
Oktibbeha455897
Panola4445103
Pearl River4428141
Warren4284118
Marshall4276100
Pontotoc416972
Monroe4061132
Union403975
Neshoba3994176
Lincoln3871109
Hancock372885
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329589
Tate322782
Pike3188104
Scott310872
Yazoo304468
Alcorn298065
Itawamba297177
Copiah293265
Coahoma289778
Simpson288284
Tippah284868
Prentiss275759
Marion266079
Leake261373
Wayne261341
Grenada255384
Covington254780
Adams246082
Newton245161
George238147
Winston225981
Tishomingo222267
Jasper219748
Attala213473
Chickasaw205057
Holmes186872
Clay182854
Stone179331
Clarke177076
Tallahatchie175540
Calhoun163531
Yalobusha159236
Smith158834
Walthall130643
Greene129433
Lawrence126423
Noxubee126233
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120926
Amite120141
Webster113532
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica102725
Claiborne101330
Benton97325
Kemper95428
Humphreys94332
Franklin82123
Quitman78916
Choctaw73417
Wilkinson64928
Jefferson64828
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 520503

Reported Deaths: 10722
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson754091487
Mobile38938798
Madison33898495
Tuscaloosa25297443
Montgomery23992567
Shelby23124239
Baldwin20652300
Lee15541165
Calhoun14301311
Morgan14145270
Etowah13665346
Marshall11967219
Houston10381278
Elmore10001200
Limestone9822147
Cullman9481188
St. Clair9435234
Lauderdale9223227
DeKalb8748181
Talladega8071171
Walker7100275
Jackson6762110
Autauga6734103
Blount6497135
Colbert6210130
Coffee5404112
Dale4766110
Russell429038
Franklin419982
Chilton4087109
Covington4056114
Tallapoosa3898146
Escambia388574
Dallas3531149
Chambers3503122
Clarke346560
Marion3066100
Pike305876
Lawrence295395
Winston272572
Bibb256459
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens233059
Barbour225255
Hale218775
Butler212566
Fayette209260
Henry187744
Cherokee182144
Randolph176941
Monroe172040
Washington164238
Macon154848
Clay149555
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146241
Lamar139334
Lowndes136553
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109128
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99328
Greene91034
Choctaw58724
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Columbus
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Showers linger across the area as a cold front passes Wednesday afternoon. This will keep temperatures far cooler than average. Some of these showers may linger into the overnight as well.
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