Getting Vaccinated? Here’s How to Prepare

As of this week, approximately 33% of all adults in the State of Minnesota are considered to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and an additional 46% have received at least one dose of the vaccine. That means that by the end of June, at least 79% of the state will be vaccinated against COVID-19; just in time for summer!

However, if you’re anything like me, you might not be fully vaccinated yet.

There are a lot of reasons people have chosen to wait; ranging from a lack of information as these vaccines are under emergency order to the fact that some people, such as myself, aren’t even leaving their homes so they chose to wait for others. Nevertheless, COVID-19 vaccination appointments are now available to all adults over the age of 16 in the State of Minnesota ,so now is the time to get yourself scheduled.

Appointments can be found just about anywhere across the state, and you don’t need insurance to be eligible to receive the vaccine. The appointments take around an hour as the distributors of the vaccine want to monitor you to make sure you don’t have a strong reaction, and the shot itself is literally a pinch.

However, a lot of people are still extremely nervous about receiving one or both doses of the vaccine due to how little research was conducted prior to the emergency rollout. If you are one of those people, or even if you’re not, let me assure you that it’s okay to feel a little nervous. But I also want you to know that there’s lot of ways you can prepare for your appointment that might help you feel better about going:

Prior to Booking your Appointment:

  • Get to know the types of vaccines that are available to you: Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna. As I said before, there are a multitude of vaccination sites across the state, but not all offer every type of vaccine. If you have a preference, make sure to book at a site that has that particular type.
  • Professionals at the University of Maryland Medical Center also note that, if you have had any severe allergic reactions in the past, make sure you consult your doctor prior to booking.
  • Also, if you are really nervous, it might be best to read up on the myths about the COVID-19 vaccination as explained by medical professionals.
  • Schedule your vaccine! Some places may even allow you to schedule your second dose at the same time as your first so be aware.
  • Add the appointment(s) to your calendar and isolate yourself prior to getting your vaccine! This is very important because the last thing you want is to get COVID right before you are vaccinated for COVID

Before Your Vaccination Appointment:

  • A few days or so prior to the vaccination, try to do a small stock up: Grab easy food, like canned soup and crackers, and painkillers such as Tylenol and Ibuprofen.
  • Prepare all of the documents you may need (again, insurance is not required, but having some of this documentation may help speed up the paperwork part of the process): State issued photo ID and a copy of your insurance card. When in doubt, read up on the site you are scheduled to visit and read about what they require.
  • Plan your day with enough time and try to arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment. Like I said before, the appointment only takes about an hour but that does not include drive time or extra waiting times at the sites.
  • If you have one, pack your EpiPen. It never hurts to be prepared.
  • Along those same lines, be aware of any and all allergic reactions you have had in the past as there may be questions from the vaccine distributor.
  • Drink A LOT of water. Being hydrated will help combat the icky flu-like symptoms you have likely read about and is generally just good for you.
  • Do NOT take any anti-inflammatory drugs such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen prior to getting the shot as these can inhibit your immune system from working with the vaccine.
  • Make yourself a ‘post-vaccine’ self-care plan, and make sure that it is mellow. Some people say that mildly using their arm throughout the day both prior to and after getting the vaccine helped combat some of the second-day soreness, others were rather fluish and preferred to stay in bed and watch movies. Whatever counts as your favorite way to relax, schedule that in for after your vaccination appointment.
  • Wear comfortable clothes and try to wear something with short sleeves as the shot is administered to the upper arm of your choosing. And don’t forget your mask!
  • Before you head out to the appointment, try to eat a small snack.
  • Finally, when you arrive, express any concerns or fears you still have to the professional you are receiving the vaccine from. They are trained to work with you, and they will do what they can to make you feel comfortable.

After You Receive Your Vaccine:

  • If you have only gotten one dose, and are getting the Moderna or Pfizer types, make sure you are scheduled to receive a second dose. For those who get the Pfizer vaccine, this does needs to be scheduled out a minimum of three weeks after the first. For Moderna, the minimum distance between the two appointments is four weeks.
  • Start chugging even more water. Again, hydration is immaculate in helping our bodies function properly.
  • Avoid any rigorous workouts you have scheduled; arm pain is the most prevalent symptom reported and being mid-plank when you find that out might not be the most fun you’ve had this week.
  • Before you start partying with your friends, try to avoid alcohol for a day or two to let the vaccine settle into your system.
  • Finally, wait the entire two week period after receiving your second dose of the vaccine to be considered fully vaccinated. Yes, that’s right, you still have to stay home for two weeks after your second dose to make sure the vaccine has taken effect and you can consider yourself to be fully vaccinated.

The bottom line, it’s time for our society to return to a semblance of normality, and the best way to do that is to eliminate the threat of getting severely ill from COVID-19. As I said before, there are many reasons why people have waited and even more as to why they may never get the vaccine, but I hope this blog at least makes you feel more comfortable and confident in your decision to get vaccinated.

Stay safe, Minnesota!

4 thoughts on “Getting Vaccinated? Here’s How to Prepare

  1. Wow!! For someone who has yet to be vaccinated I sure was intrigued! My boss just got her second shot yesterday and she is actually home not feeling well. This information is great. I did not know that after you get your second shot that you should stay home for at least 2 weeks to be considered officially vaccinated. It also didn’t hit me that you should isolate yourself before hand, as I know many people who have had the shot and the next day show up to work. This is information I cannot wait to pass on to the next person. Thank You

  2. I like the advice on stocking up and preparing for your body’s immune response after each dose of the vaccine. I did these things and I was very glad I did. I had no reaction after my 1st dose but my immune response after the 2nd dose was very significant and I didn’t feel back to normal for about 2 full days. Having what I needed right at home was super helpful.

  3. Just got my second dose Wednesday, woo-hoo! Definitely glad I prepped beforehand, it was a lifesaver. Now just have to convince my parents to vaccinate too, maybe I’ll send over this post!

  4. Great ideas and points laid out! This is very informative and helpful to someone like me who is on the brink of receiving the vaccine and has worries.

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