After the vax

Get answers to your questions about what to do after getting the COVID-19 vaccine by clicking on the questions below.

You might have some side effects from the vaccine. For a few days you might feel like you have a cold or flu. You may feel:

  • Pain in the arm where you got the shot
  • Tired
  • Aches in muscles or joints
  • A headache
  • Chills
  • Feverish

The side effects happen because your body is building protection against COVID-19. It is a sign the vaccine is working. You cannot pass your side effect symptoms to other people. Some people have more side effects after their second dose, or none at all. Most people feel better after a few days.

If you are vaccinated, congratulations! You brought us closer to the end of the pandemic! You are now protected from getting sick and dying from COVID-19. Since not everyone has been vaccinated there are still things you need to do to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

When in public, continue to wear a mask, follow physical distancing, and wash your hands. Continuing to mask and distance also reminds us all to be careful, even though some people are now protected.

If you’re vaccinated, you can gather indoors with others who have been vaccinated without wearing masks. If you’re gathering with people who haven’t been vaccinated, only gather with one other household. For example, a vaccinated grandparent can visit their unvaccinated children and grandchildren at home without masks or distancing.

It is still not safe for unvaccinated people from different households to get together.

When you get together with other vaccinated people the risk of COVID-19 is very small. You may want to hug and eat together. If everyone in the situation is vaccinated that is okay to do.

You should still avoid medium-sized and large gatherings and delay travel.

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CDC guidance for fully vaccinated
Credit: Johns Hopkins Medical Institute

COVID-19 is a new disease. That means the vaccines are also new.  Vaccinations were only started in March of last year. So scientists don’t know how long they will last.

So far the news is very good. The vaccines provided last March to those in the clinical trials are still effective.

We don’t know how long the current vaccines will protect you after you get vaccinated. It is possible you will need a booster vaccine shot later to extend the protection. Scientists are studying how long protection from the vaccines lasts. They are also studying whether we will need booster shots for new variants.

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Until everyone in your family is fully vaccinated the best thing to do is continue practicing COVID-19 prevention. Wear a mask when you’re near other people not in your family, choose outdoor activities when possible and avoid going to crowded indoor places like restaurants.

Please look at our list of usual side effects. If you experience something that is not a common side effect after the waiting period, please call your doctor for medical care.  Go to the closest Emergency Department or urgent care location if you do not have a doctor, or if you need immediate care.

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