Choose to get the COVID-19 vaccine
Vaccines work to help your body fight off viruses and illness like COVID-19. When you get a vaccination, you are not only protecting yourself, but you are protecting and defending those around you. This information will help you understand the different types of vaccines available to fight COVID-19, and what you should do to prepare for your COVID-19 vaccine.
Types of COVID-19 Vaccines
There are currently TWO different COVID-19 vaccines available for administering in the United States. They were both approved through an emergency use authorization by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).
Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
Type of Vaccine: mRNA
Age Eligibility: For ages 16+
Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine
Type of Vaccine: mRNA
Age Eligibility: For ages 18+
Who should NOT get the COVID-19 vaccine
If you are someone who experiences or has experienced a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient in a vaccine speak with your doctor about getting this vaccine. If you experience a reaction after the first dose, it is not recommended for you to get the second dose.
Allergic reactions can include:
- Anaphylaxis (throat swelling)
- Skin rash
How the COVID-19 vaccine is delivered
Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are given through an injection in your upper arm, similar to a flu shot. You will need two doses of the vaccine. The first and second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be given 21 days apart. The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine will be given in two doses, with the first and second shots 28 days apart.
Possible side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine
With both the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, you are more likely to have symptoms after your second dose. It takes time for your body to build up protection against viruses like COVID-19. You might have a day or two of symptoms as your immune system kicks into gear to start protecting you against COVID-19. You are considered “fully-vaccinated” two weeks after your second dose.
Here are some of the possible symptoms you might have after getting your COVID-19 vaccine:
- Pain or swelling at the injection site
- Tiredness or malaise
- Fever or chills
If you experience symptoms after getting the COVID-19 vaccine, it is your body’s immune system doing its job. You do NOT have COVID-19, and you are NOT at risk of spreading the virus to others. The symptoms should go away after a couple of days.
Before you get your COVID-19 vaccine
The state of Kansas has opened up vaccinations for anyone over the age of 16. You can sign-up to get your COVID-19 vaccine locally through Harvey County’s Vaccine Page or nationally through the vaccine finder.
If you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, please speak with your healthcare provider or family doctor. You can also learn more about how the vaccine works and what cautions to take through the CDC’s Vaccine Resources Page.
When you get your COVID-19 vaccine
When you get your COVID-19 vaccine, you will receive a card with the date of your shot. If you get the Pfizer-BioTech or Moderna vaccine, you will be told what day you need to return for your second dose. If you get the Johnson & Johnson Janssen shot, you will only need one dose.
After you get your shot, you will be asked to sit and wait for 15 minutes to make sure you don’t have any reactions to the vaccine.
Vaccine Card Information
You will be given a vaccine card to keep track of your shot dates, especially if you are getting a two-shot vaccine. Be sure to bring your vaccine card back with you for your second dose. Here are some dos and don’ts when it comes to your vaccine card:
- Take a photo of the front and back of your COVID-19 vaccine card
- Print a photocopy of the card to keep in your wallet
- Keep the original copy in a safe place, like with your birth certificate or your social security card
- Post photos of your vaccine card on social media because it includes personal health information (PHI) such as your name and your birthdate
- Laminate the card in case there is a need for booster shots or more information to be added later
What you can do after you've been fully vaccinated
After you’ve been fully vaccinated, you’ll be able to do the following:
- Visit anyone who is also fully vaccinated without having to wear a mask
- Visit with people who are not at risk of severe illness without having to wear a mask
- Travel within the United States without having to be tested for COVID-19
- Travel within the United States and abroad without having to quarantine before or after travel
- Travel anywhere in the world without a pre-travel test, depending on where you’re going
You still need to wear a mask around people who are at severe risk of COVID-19 and avoid medium to large-size gatherings until more people are fully vaccinated. Even after you’re fully vaccinated, you still need to remember to wash your hands thoroughly, practice social distancing and continue to wear a mask where appropriate.
You will not need to be tested for COVID-19 unless you are experiencing symptoms. If you do show symptoms of COVID-19, stay home and distance yourself from others.
You can learn more from the CDC.
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