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The much-anticipated vaccination for COVID-19 has finally been released, and while it seems there may finally be a light at the end of this long pandemic tunnel, there are some steps that still need to be taken. Once it’s your time to get the vaccine, be prepared by taking these steps.

1. Be aware of the risks.

As with any vaccination, there are risks associated with the COVID-19 vaccination. While a majority of people tolerate it very well, there are a few categories of people who doctors are encouraging to hold off on getting inoculated. If you are allergic to any of the ingredients in the vaccine, it’s recommended that you wait to receive it until your doctor gives the okay.

2. Reduce your chance of side effects.

Most side effects from the vaccine are generally mild. The main complaint has been soreness at the injection site and a low-grade fever or headache that lasts a short period of time. Some people have experienced body aches as well, but this has mainly occurred after receiving the second vaccination. Get plenty of rest and hydrate the night before you get your vaccination so that you’re feeling your best.

3. Take care of yourself after.

While most people can return to work immediately after receiving the vaccination, some may need a day or two to rest. Any body aches, headache, or fever can be treated with over-the-counter pain medication. Soreness or redness at the injection site can be relieved with a warm compress.

4. If you suspect you have COVID-19, get tested prior to getting vaccinated.

Getting the vaccination while you’re sick could make your symptoms worse. If you already have COVID-19, getting the vaccination won’t be beneficial to you as you already have the antibodies that provide protection. Leaving the vaccination to benefit someone else who has not yet had COVID-19 is a better option. You will be screened for COVID-19 prior to getting vaccinated and asked to reschedule if you have symptoms.

Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and others. Once the vaccination becomes widely available to the public, take these steps when you receive it in order to get the most benefit.