What To Expect At A Vaccine Clinic

What to Expect Before and After Your Vaccine Appointment        

Because COVID-19 is a new disease with new vaccines, you may have questions about what happens before, during, and after your appointment to get vaccinated. These tips will help you know what to expect when you get vaccinated, what information your provider will give you, and resources you can use to monitor your health after you are vaccinated.

Before Vaccination

When you get Vaccinated

  • Due to high demand, you may wait in long lines.
  • You should receive a vaccination card or printout that tells you what COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it.
  • You should receive a paper or electronic version of a fact sheet that tells you more about the specific COVID-19 vaccine you are being offered. Each authorized COVID-19 vaccine has its own fact sheet that contains information to help you understand the risks and benefits of receiving that specific vaccine.

After Vaccination

  • EMS or a health care provider will observe you up to 30 minutes for any adverse reactions post vaccination.
  • With most COVID-19 vaccines, you will need two shots in order for them to work. Get the second shot even if you have side effects after the first one, unless a vaccination provider or your doctor tells you not to get a second shot.
  • Ask your healthcare provider about getting started with v-safe, a free, smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccination. V-safe also reminds you to get your second dose if you need one. More information about v-safe can be found here.
  • It takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines that require 2 shots may not protect you until a week or two after your second shot.

Fact Sheets for Recipients and Caregivers

Common side effects

On the arm where the vaccine was given you can expect pain and swelling. Throughout the next 48 hours you might experience fevers, chills, tiredness, or headache. 

When to call a doctor

In most cases, discomfort from fever or pain is normal. Contact your doctor if the redness or tenderness where you got the shot increases after 24 hours, or if your side effects are worrying you or do not seem to be going away after 48 hours.