What to expect at your COVID-19 vaccination appointment

Rear Adm. Anne Swap, Director, National Capital Region Market Office, left, is briefed on COVID-19 vaccination procedures by Sabrina Chakhtoura, Naval Health Clinic Patuxent River immunization department head, during an official site visit Jan. 22. Swap was briefed on a variety of clinic operations before touring clinic facilities.

What to expect at your COVID-19 vaccination appointment

As scientists learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions, it’s important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic. Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others, stay at least 6-feet away from others, avoid crowds, and wash your hands often.

Because COVID-19 is a new disease with new vaccines, you may have questions about what happens before, during, and after your appointment to get vaccinated. 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.

Before Vaccination

• See if COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for you right now.

• Learn more about the different types of COVID-19 vaccines, how they work, and their benefits, at www.cdc.gov, then click the “Learn More About COVID19” link displayed prominently on the home page.

• When you get the vaccine, you and your healthcare worker will both need to wear masks that cover the nose and mouth. Stay 6-feet away from others while inside and in lines.

When You Get Vaccinated

• You should receive a vaccination card or printout that tells you what COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it.

• You should receive a paper or electronic version of a fact sheet that tells you more about the specific COVID-19 vaccine you are being offered. Each authorized COVID-19 vaccine has its own fact sheet that contains information to help you understand the risks and benefits of receiving that specific vaccine.

• All people who get a COVID-19 vaccine should be monitored on-site. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and rare severe allergic reactions at www.cdc.gov.

After Vaccination

• With most COVID-19 vaccines, you will need two shots in order for them to work. Get the second shot even if you have side effects after the first one, unless a vaccination provider or your doctor tells you not to get a second shot.

• Ask your healthcare provider about getting started with v-safe, a free, smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccination. V-safe also reminds you to get your second dose if you need one. Learn more at www.cdc.gov/vsafe.

• It takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines that require 2 shots may not protect you until a week or two after your second shot.