Do’s and Don’ts About the Coronavirus Vaccines

A while back I wrote about the coronavirus vaccines that have been approved in the U.S. for emergency usage. One is the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the other is the Moderna.

 As you know, both are being distributed in America. Starting with healthcare workers and the elderly. Then continuing with those over 65. As of this writing, the FDA is considering approving a Johnson & Johnson vaccine for emergency usage. 

 After providing you with information about the vaccines, I asked whether you plan to get one of those vaccines when you become eligible for it.

Many of you responded. As expected, some said you would not get it under any circumstances, some said you would take a wait and see approach, and some said you would get it as soon as possible.

A Personal Choice

As I have said numerous times, the purpose of writing about the coronavirus vaccines is NOT to try to convince you to get it or not get it.

Vaccines are a personal choice. I know those who choose to get it, those who choose not to get it and those who prefer to wait and see all have valid reasons for their choice.

The purpose of writing about the vaccines is to keep you as informed about their status.

Today I want to focus on what medical experts say to do – and not to do – before and after getting the vaccine. If that’s what you choose to do. 

I believe this will be useful for those planning to get it. But even if you’re not planning to get it, you may learn a thing or two.

Don’t Get It If You’re Infected

Here’s one of the most important “don’ts” regarding the vaccines. Don’t get it if you are currently infected with the virus. Or have recently been exposed to someone who has it.

The vaccines are designed to prevent you from getting infected. At some point you may want to get the vaccine, but first make sure all your symptoms are gone. And your isolation period has passed.

This is mainly for your protection. A vaccine will probably do more harm than good if you are currently infected.

But it’s also for the good of those you will encounter while getting it. Including others waiting in line and the healthcare worker who administers it.

Two-Week Window for Other Vaccines 

Here’s another important “don’t.” Do not get a different type of vaccine within 14 days of getting a coronavirus vaccine.

If you recently got or plan to get a flu shot or a shingles vaccine, make sure your coronavirus vaccine is not administered within two weeks of either.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not yet studied potential interactions between other vaccines and the Pfizer and Moderna ones.

The CDC adds that if someone inadvertently got another vaccine within two weeks of getting the coronavirus vaccine, they should go ahead and complete the coronavirus vaccine schedule.

Wait 15-30 Minutes

Now for a “do.” You should tell the healthcare worker who will administer your vaccine about any allergies you have. Especially any allergic reactions you’ve had to vaccines in the past.

As with every vaccine, there have been some serious reactions to the coronavirus one. And they usually occur within the first 15 to 30 minutes after receiving the shot.

If someone with a history of reactions to vaccines decides to get the coronavirus vaccine, they should have an EpiPen readily available.

Regardless of whether you’ve had allergic reactions in the past, wait 15 to 30 minutes before leaving the site after getting your vaccine.

If You Get the First, Get the Second

Another “do” is to make sure you get your second shot when you’re supposed to. There’s not much point in getting the first shot and then neglecting the second.

After getting the vaccine, another essential “do” is continuing to practice safety protocols. Including wearing a mask in public, practicing social distancing and frequently washing your hands.

Some people may believe they are immune from the virus after receiving their second dosage. That’s not necessarily true. For one thing, you may not experience protection until a week or two after your second shot. 

And even if the vaccines prove to be as effective as they were in trials (94-95 percent), there’s still a chance you could become infected.

Pfizer and Moderna Similar So Far

Generally speaking, healthcare facilities administering coronavirus vaccines will not provide a choice between Pfizer and Moderna.

They probably only have one or the other. So don’t be concerned about which one you get. 

In addition to being fairly similar, there is currently no evidence which one is better than the other.

The main difference so far is that the second Pfizer shot comes 21 days after the first. The second Moderna shot comes 28 days after the first.

Fasting Is Unnecessary

Here’s an additional “don’t.” Don’t fast prior to getting a vaccination. That’s important with a blood draw, but not a vaccine.

In fact, it’s good to be well fed and hydrated prior to a vaccination. Especially if you’re prone to feeling lightheaded in these situations. 

Also, the CDC does not recommend taking a fever-reducing drug prior to a vaccination. Some who fear a potential fever from the vaccine have done this.

A final “do” is to make sure you get a card stating which vaccine you received. Plus where you received it and on which date. Carry it in your wallet as a reminder for when to get your second shot.

Only time will tell whether coronavirus vaccines limit the spread of the pandemic. But if you decide to get it, knowing the do’s and don'ts can help.   

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Comments

Dianne Pool Cochran - March 1, 2021

Thank you for this advice. I am 80 years old and had a very slight case of corona in January. Only lost my taste. Was told I couldn’t get the vaccine for three months—April 1. I have been torn between getting it and not but have decided that for the sake of those around me, I will. I assume that if I don’t I will be wearing a mask for a long time. Anyway, thanks so much for your newsletter. There was a lot of good advice in that article.

Jack Wolf - March 1, 2021

Very good information on the vaccine

Vickie Loyd - March 1, 2021

Excellent article on the vaccine do’s and don’ts. I got my first one last week and glad to have been able to do so. Thank you.

Kathy Bridges - March 1, 2021

Thank you. The info was well presented and very helpful.

Mitch Malseed - March 1, 2021

All good info on getting the vaccine. Another good tip is to take a picture of your CDC card so you always have it available. I know stuff in my wallet is sometimes short lived, like my money:)

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