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"Do Not" Do This After Your COVID Vaccine, CDC Warns

Avoid these mistakes and misconceptions.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab
Doctor vaccinating female patient in clinic.

So you've secured an appointment to get the COVID vaccine, it's in your calendar, and you have plans to get to the vaccination site—or maybe you've already had yours. Well done. There's just one more important step to ensure you keep yourself and others safe: Know what not to do right after you get the vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have compiled a list of potential mistakes to avoid. Here are the five most important. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Signs Your Illness is Actually Coronavirus in Disguise.

1

Do Not Leave Immediately

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The CDC recommends that you stay at the vaccine site for 15 minutes after getting your injection to ensure you don't have an allergic reaction to the shot. The exception: if you have a history of severe allergic reactions, you should wait at the site for half an hour. 

2

Do Not Ignore An Allergic Reaction

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Allergic reactions are very rare, but if you have one, healthcare providers at the vaccine site are trained to help. The most common severe allergic reaction is anaphylaxis, a swelling of the airway that can be fatal. Again, it's extremely rare! But know that you should immediately inform on-site personnel if you feel unwell right after getting the vaccine.

3

Do Not Be Surprised By These Side Effects

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According to the CDC, the most common reported side effects of the COVID vaccine are pain, redness or swelling at the injection site; fatigue; headache; muscle pain; fever; chills; and nausea. You might also develop "COVID arm," a rash or swelling in your injection arm, which may appear a week or so after you're vaccinated. Side effects are a good sign—they mean your body is preparing an immune response. (On the other hand, not having side effects doesn't mean the vaccine isn't working.) 

4

Do Not Stop Wearing Masks

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"We're still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19," the CDC says. "After you've been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions in public places like wearing a mask, staying six feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces until we know more."

If you've been fully vaccinated, it's OK to gather with others unmasked in certain situations, the CDC says. You can remove your mask if you're fully vaccinated and are gathering indoors with other fully vaccinated people, or if you're gathering indoors with unvaccinated members of one other household. (But if you'll be around anyone at risk for severe COVID-19, it's best to mask up.) 

5

Do Not Travel

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The CDC still urges Americans to avoid domestic and international travel, even after you've been vaccinated. "Travel increases your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19," the agency says. "CDC recommends that you do not travel at this time. Delay travel and stay home to protect yourself and others from COVID-19."

RELATED: Most COVID Patients Did This Before Getting Sick

6

How to Survive This Pandemic

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As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear a face mask, get vaccinated as soon as you can, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

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