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Sharp Health News

5 facts about the COVID-19 vaccine

April 27, 2021

Volunteer assists patient at the Sharp COVID-19 vaccination clinic located in the former Sears building at Chula Vista Center.
After months of anticipation, the day is finally here. Adults over age 50 are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. And people age 16 and older will become eligible for vaccination on April 15, 2021.

The vaccine is vital to stopping the spread of COVID-19, helping people avoid severe illness, protecting the community and ending the pandemic. If the majority of people within a community get the vaccine, restrictions can lift, businesses can fully open, kids can return to school campuses, and everyone can get back to their regular activities, including spending time with loved ones.

Preparing for your vaccination
As of April 8, more than 100 million people in the U.S. have received at least 1 dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Here are 5 things to know before getting the vaccine:

  1. The COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective.
    Depending on the supply within the region and the specific site where you receive your vaccine, you may receive one of the 2-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was once again approved for use by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after a brief pause due to reports of very rare, but severe blood clots in 6 women who received it. The agencies reviewed the available data and found that the Johnsons & Johnson vaccine's proven benefits outweigh the known risks. All 3 vaccines provide 100% protection against hospitalization and death.

  2. You should avoid taking over-the-counter (OTC) medication before receiving the vaccine.
    The CDC recommends that you do not take OTC medicine - such as ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen or antihistamines - before your vaccination in hopes of avoiding any vaccine-related side effects. It is not known if these medications might affect how well the vaccine works. Talk to your doctor about taking them after getting vaccinated for any pain or discomfort you might be experiencing.

  3. You may - or may not - experience vaccine-related side effects.
    Some people experience a mild to moderate reaction for 1 to 3 days after vaccination. You might want to schedule your vaccination appointment for a day that will allow you a day or more to rest, in case you're not quite up for work or other daily activities.

    Commonly reported vaccine reactions include:
    • Sore arm (where the vaccine was injected)
    • Body aches
    • Fatigue
    • Fever
    • Headache
    • Chills

  4. You are not immediately protected after vaccination.
    All vaccines take approximately 2 weeks after receiving the full dose - either 1 shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or 2 shots of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines - before providing full protection. Continue to practice all safety measures: avoid crowds, frequently wash your hands, wear a face covering and practice social distancing of 6 feet when around others not from your household.

  5. Even when you're fully vaccinated, you should still be cautious.
    According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people should continue to wear a mask and practice social distancing and other prevention measures when in public and when spending time with unvaccinated people from multiple households or with people who are unvaccinated and at greater risk for severe COVID-19 illness. This is because it is unknown if you can still spread the virus after vaccination.
However, once you're fully vaccinated, the CDC says you are likely safe to:
  • Spend time indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing masks or social distancing.
  • Spend time indoors with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 illness without wearing masks or social distancing.
  • Avoid quarantine and COVID-19 testing if exposed to COVID-19, as long as no COVID-19 symptoms are evident (asymptomatic).
  • Travel within the United States without the need to get tested before or after travel, or to self-quarantine after travel. However, you must continue to follow state travel guidelines.
"We can now begin planning for our lives post-pandemic," said California Governor Gavin Newsom at a recent press conference. "We will need to remain vigilant, and continue the practices that got us here, but the light at the end of this tunnel has never been brighter."

Get COVID-19 vaccine information and access to COVID-19 resources from Sharp HealthCare.

This story was updated in April 2021 to include the latest Johnson & Johnson vaccine information.

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