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Thursday, June 24, 2021

How to Prepare to Receive COVID-19 Vaccinations

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Broderick Rhyant M.D., chief physician executive at Eskenazi Health Center Forest Manor

As millions of Americans decide to receive COVID-19 vaccines, some are hesitant to do so because they’ve learned of the aftereffects some people are experiencing after being inoculated.

A mild fever, headache, fatigue, joint pain, and pain or swelling at the site of the vaccine are all relatively common side effects after receiving a COVID-19 shot, and fortunately those discomforts last no more than a day or two. It is important to note that some people experience no side effects.

When you have side effects, that’s a sign that your immune system is at work trying to build up that immunity that keeps the coronavirus at bay, which is exactly what’s supposed to happen.

So once your first or second vaccine is scheduled, here are a few suggestions for you to consider to help the experience go well.

The night before your appointment, make sure to get a good night’s sleep—it will help your immune system work to its fullest potential. If your appointment is around a mealtime, you should also eat beforehand and drink water.

One very important aspect to this process is to be ready to expose your upper arm when it’s time for the injection, and you might want to choose to offer your less dominant arm for the shot in case post-inoculation soreness sets in.

After getting the shot, you’ll be asked to wait for 15 minutes or so before leaving the doctor’s office to ensure you don’t have an allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to a vaccine in the past, you may be asked to wait 30 minutes.

Be sure to bring home the vaccine card that you’ll receive and take a photo of it, and store it in a safe place. That card will provide evidence of vaccination and be a good reminder of which vaccine you received, the dates of your dose or dosages and any follow-up appointments required.

Children ages 12 years and older may now receive the two-shot Pfizer vaccine with parental consent. The other two COVID vaccines are available for everyone18 years and older. To schedule an appointment, you can sign up at ourshot.in.gov or call 211. Appointments are recommended, but walk-ins are permitted.

People who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their health care provider immediately. If you are ill with flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath, please call your health center or clinic before coming to your appointment. If you are an Eskenazi Health patient, please call 317.880.7666 before coming to your appointment. Health care professionals are available 24/7 to answer questions on symptoms and direct you to the most appropriate care. It is important to first call before arriving at Eskenazi Health.

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