The vaccines against COVID-19 are here, but many of us have lots of questions about the process of getting the shot.

Here’s what CNN has to say about what to expect:


Be prepared. Wherever you’re getting your shot, find out what you should do beforehand.

Ask what kind of paperwork or ID you should bring. Get as many questions as possible answered before showing up so you don’t take up too much time while other people are waiting.

Be ready to wait when you arrive.


Wear your mask. You still need to wear your mask when you get vaccinated, whether you’re going to a pharmacy, a hospital, your doctor’s office, or a drive-thru site. Maintain social-distancing protocols as well.


Don’t panic over side effects. The shot itself is just like any other injection. You may feel soreness or have swelling or redness at the spot of the injection. Some people develop headaches, fever, fatigue, and muscle aches.

In most cases these are minor inconveniences. Get some extra rest, and take Tylenol or ibuprofen for any pain.


Wait after the shot. You’ll be asked to wait 15–20 minutes after receiving your shot to see if you have an allergic reaction. This is very rare, though. You’ll probably be asked to hang out in an observation area or in your car if you’re at a drive-thru site.

If you have a history of severe allergic reactions to food or other medications, you may be asked to wait for 30 minutes after the vaccination before heading home.


Get the second shot. One shot offers some protection against the coronavirus, but two are required for optimal safety. The second shot will come three to four weeks after the first, depending on the vaccine manufacturer’s guidelines.


Keep exercising caution. After the second shot, it takes about two weeks to receive maximum protection, so keep wearing your mask and practicing social distancing.

Even after two weeks, you’re not 100% protected, and you may still be able to carry and transmit the coronavirus to others. Continue to avoid crowds, wash hands, and wear masks.

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