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The Dos and Don’ts of the COVID Vaccine

We are all ready to put COVID behind us. The only way to make that happen is to develop herd immunity, which means 70-80% of the population has immunity against the virus. The best way to achieve that goal is to do your part and get vaccinated. Below are the DOs and DON’Ts of the vaccine – all things to keep in mind when it’s your time to become vaccinated.

DON’T: Travel mid vaccine dosages.
If you received the first dose of your COVID vaccine do not leave to go on vacation thinking that another city or state will be able to provide you with your second dose. This will not be the case. Your best chance of receiving your second dose is to return to the clinic where you first received the vaccine.

DON’T: Sign-up for multiple appointments at area clinics.
Doing this will only slow down the vaccination process for everyone seeking a vaccine. Please only make one appointment for a vaccine to save time, resources and the vaccine supply.

DO: Get your vaccine when it’s your turn.
Currently the state of Michigan is allowing those from groups 1B and 1C-A (Michiganders age 65 and older, frontline essential workers, child care and pre-K through high school staff, and congregate care facilities) for the vaccine.

Current projections for the remainder of group 1C (other essential frontline workers and people age 16-64 years with a health condition that puts them at high risk for serious COVID-19 complications) will likely happen this spring and then the general public (16 and older) by the end of summer.

You can sign-up for appointment notifications at NOCHS vaccine clinic here.

DON’T: Plan a vacation right away just because you are vaccinated.
Getting vaccinated can make traveling safer, but the risks are not completely gone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still recommends limiting travel. You should only be traveling if it is essential.

At this time, there is too much of the virus around us and not enough immune bodies to fully protect you. Plus, there is the threat of new, faster-spreading variants from the UK, Brazil and South Africa.

Your chance of being exposed to the virus when traveling is still very high. Because the vaccine is not 100% effective, you can become infected with COVID even after being vaccinated.

Traveling right now risks your health and spreading the virus in your community. The best thing you can do is to delay travel until more people are vaccinated.

DON’T: Let disinformation on vaccines cloud your judgment.
Unfortunately, there is still a lot of misleading and wrong information out there about the vaccines. You can read our three-part vaccine series here to learn more or click the links from these reputable organizations for trusted information: CDCState of Michigan and Ottawa County Health Department.

DO: Get vaccinated if you’ve already had Covid-19.
There are several reasons to get vaccinated even if you had Covid. First, and most important, you could become re-infected, especially if your initial infection was mild and your body did not produce sufficient antibodies. Second, we do not know how long the natural antibodies you might have produced will last. You do not want to run the risk of coming down with COVID again, especially a more serious case of it.

DON’T: Get a shot if you currently have Covid-19 or have been exposed.
You should wait until you are fully recovered before receiving the vaccine. Typically, you should wait 10-15 days after symptom onset or diagnosis to ensure you are no longer carrying the active virus. If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

If you were exposed to someone with the virus you should complete your quarantine before scheduling an appointment for the vaccine.

DON’T: Get another type of vaccine within 14 days of the Covid-19 shot.
CDC recommends to wait at least 14 days before getting any other vaccine, including a flu or shingles vaccine, if you get your COVID-19 vaccine first. And if you get another vaccine first, wait at least 14 days before getting your COVID-19 vaccine.

If a COVID-19 vaccine is inadvertently given within 14 days of another vaccine, you do not need to restart the COVID-19 vaccine series; you should still complete the series on schedule.

DO: Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns before making an appointment.
Contact your doctor to discuss your particular health situation. Remember that people who are immunocompromised in some way are the most vulnerable to COVID, which is why they have been prioritized in the vaccine distribution plan. The health concerns that you have might make it even more important for you to receive the vaccine as soon as possible.

DON’T: Leave before your 15 to 30-minute wait is up.
It is best for you to wait a minimum of 15 minutes after you received your shot to make sure you do not have an allergic reaction to the vaccine that could warrant immediate medical attention.

DO: Get your second shot of the vaccine within the recommended time frame.
The mRNA vaccines are to be scheduled 21 or 28 days apart from the first vaccine depending on the brand you received. The clinical trials for the vaccines studied these particular timeframes and not much beyond it so it is recommended to stick to the schedule to ensure that the vaccine you receive is in line with what was studied.

DO: Continue wearing masks and practice social distancing after your shots.
This applies to anyone who receives the vaccine, as well those who are waiting. We have not developed enough immunity yet within our society so the best tools we have to combat the virus are avoiding crowds, socially distance, wash your hands and most importantly, wear a multi-layered mask.

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