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How to Prepare for Your COVID-19 Vaccine

Before You Get Vaccinated

  • Plan to get vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19.
  • Find out where to get a COVID-19 vaccine by visiting vaccines.gov
    • You can text your zip code to GETVAX (438829) for English, or VACUNA (822862) for Spanish and receive three possible COVID vaccination sites in your area, with phone numbers to call for an appointment.
  • Learn more about the different types of COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Learn more about the benefits of getting COVID-19 vaccination.
  • If you are getting a COVID-19 vaccine that requires two doses, be sure to schedule an appointment for your second shot.

At Your Vaccination Appointment

  • When you get the vaccine, you and the person administering the vaccine will both need to wear masks that cover your nose and mouth.
  • You will receive a vaccination card that tells you which COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it and where you received it. It should also have a reminder for you to return for a second dose (if you receive a two-dose vaccine)
  • You'll receive a fact sheet that contains information to help you understand the risks and benefits of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine you are being offered. 
  • You'll be monitored on site after you receive your vaccination to watch for any reaction to the vaccine.

After You Receive a Vaccination

  • With most COVID-19 vaccines, you'll 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.
  • People are considered fully vaccinated:
    • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
    • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.
  • Register for 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. Learn more about v-safe.
  • Learn about common side effects and get helpful tips on how to reduce your pain and discomfort after vaccination.
  • Remember to get your second shot if you receive a two-dose vaccine!