Getting vaccinated can be useful to remember that you are not only protecting yourself from COVID-19, but also your loved ones around you.
Getting vaccinated is a massive moment for you, your family, community and the world.
But it can also be stressful, especially if you’ve been isolating at home for many months, or are worried about vaccination.
Health Experts from UNICEF in South Asia and WHO in South East Asia for tips on what to do before, during and after getting vaccinated for COVID-19 in South Asia.
Do your research
- Cross-check vaccine information that you find online, particularly if it comes from unknown sources.
- If you have any doubts, talk to staff at your nearest Health Facility, or a health worker.
- Learn more about the different types of COVID-19 vaccines and how they work and how vaccinations are being rolled out in South Asia.
- Make sure you’re relying on accurate vaccine information by checking that it comes from a trustworthy source, like your Ministry of Health, WHO or UNICEF.
Prepare your things
- The notification you received about your appointment.
- Your ID (as appropriate for your country).
- A travel plan, to get to your appointment on time.
- A mask that covers your nose and mouth – and fits tightly and comfortably.
- Hand sanitizer.
Wear loose or short sleeves that can be rolled up easily, so that health workers have easy access to your arm.
Tell your health provider, or vaccinator, if you have any health issues or are taking any medications, including any pain killers.
Cancel your appointment if you have COVID-19 or the symptoms
If you have COVID-19, or the symptoms, on the day of your vaccination appointment, do not go to the appointment. This is because you could spread the virus to others at the vaccination centre.
Get in touch with your vaccination centre, by message, phone or email to let them know you will not be attending your appointment because you have COVID-19 symptoms.
You can get vaccinated when it has been 14 days since you last experienced COVID-19 symptoms.
When waiting in line outside of the vaccination centre, and once you are inside:
- Keep at least 1 metre distance between yourself and others.
- Sanitize or wash your hands after touching door handles, surfaces or furniture.
- Don’t touch your face.
- Keep your mask on at all times.
- Don’t touch your mask once it’s on and properly fitted.
All COVID-19 vaccines, regardless of the manufacturer, are administered in the same way. The vaccine will be injected into the muscle in your upper arm. It should take no longer than a few seconds and may cause a little pain.
Keep your mask on during your appointment and turn your face away from the face of the vaccinator — to help keep you both safe.
If you are feeling nervous or anxious:
- Take slow deep breaths.
- Look away from the needle.
- Remember that it is just a small prick that could save your life.
MIMI (Multi ion mask insert)
- Can be worn with any facemask and provides additional heavy-duty protection.
- Adult & Youth Sizes Available
Expect minor side effectsAfter being vaccinated, some side effects are normal and expected. Side effects are a sign that your body is building immune protection. Common side effects observed with COVID-19 vaccines include:
- Joint pain or muscle ache
- Some pain, swelling and redness on the arm where you received the vaccine
- Chills or mild fever
Stay at the vaccination centre for the observation period
After being vaccinated you’ll need to stay in an observation area for 15-30 minutes.
This is to monitor your reaction to the vaccine and make sure you don’t experience any severe side effects.
Severe side effects are very rare, but could include:
- Severe allergic reaction
- Wheezing, difficulties in breathing or shortness of breath.
Let a health worker know immediately if you experience any of these side effects.
Severe side effects, while very rare, are most likely to appear in the first 30 minutes after being vaccinated. Your stay in the observation area means qualified help is on hand in the unlikely event that you do experience any.
Prepare for your second vaccination appointment
Most COVID-19 vaccines need 2 doses to work. This means you need to be vaccinated twice — with a gap of 4-12 weeks between the first and second dose.
Before you leave your first vaccination appointment, make sure you know the date of the second.
It’s important that you get your second dose, even if you experienced side effects from the first — unless a vaccination provider, or your doctor, tells you not to get the second dose.
Care for the arm where your vaccine was injectedYou can reduce any pain or discomfort in the arm where you got the vaccine, by applying a cool, clean, wet washcloth over the area.
Take care of yourself
If you experience side effects, these may affect your ability to do daily activities for a few days.
Some people may develop fever, muscle pain and swelling, redness, pain or a tingling sensation at the site of injection, for 1-2 days. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of fluids.
You can take some paracetamol to help ease any of these sensations. If you do, make sure you follow the dosage instructions from the pharmacist or provider.
If your symptoms are more severe, or last longer than a week, tell the health workers who gave you the vaccine.