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Congratulations on your vaccination!

We at African Youth Advocate believe getting vaccinated is the best and somewhat challenging decision you can make in these times.

Studies have shown that COVID-19 vaccines have been proven to be effective at minimizing the risk of getting COVID-19 infections as well as helping to mitigate disease severity in case one becomes infected with the deadly virus.

Although the efficacy of the vaccines is acknowledged globally, people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are advised to observe all precautions and preventive measures until more and more people have taken the vaccines and medical experts can confirm whether fully vaccinated people can transmit the virus to others. Until there is more clarity, it’s important to continue following the safety precautions even after you get the vaccine.

Next Steps After Vaccination

• Stay at the vaccination centre for the observation period after being vaccinated for 15-30 minutes to monitor your reaction to the vaccine and make sure you don’t experience any severe side effects.

• Let a health worker know immediately if you experience any severe side effects which include itching, fainting, vomiting, severe allergic reaction, wheezing, difficulties in breathing or shortness of breath. Severe side effects 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.

• Before you leave your first vaccination appointment, make sure you know whether the vaccine you had is one or two doses – and if it is two doses, that you know the date of your second appointment (or the plan for scheduling it).

• Prepare for your second vaccination appointment. Most COVID-19 vaccines need two doses to work. This means you need to be vaccinated twice — with a gap of 4-12 weeks between the first and second dose.

• Expect some minor side effects after vaccination which include pain, swelling and redness on the arm where you received the vaccine; Chills or mild fever; Tiredness; Headaches; Joint pain or muscle ache. These side effects are normal and expected and are a sign that your body is building immune protection. They typically go away within a few days.

• If you experience side effects like fever, muscle pain and swelling, redness, pain or a tingling sensation at the site of injection for 1-2 days,  make sure you drink plenty of fluids and also take some paracetamol to help ease any of these sensations. If your symptoms are more severe, or last longer than a week, tell the health workers who gave you the vaccine.

• Care for the arm where your vaccine was injected. You can reduce any pain or discomfort in the arm where you got the vaccine, by applying a cool, clean, wet washcloth over the area.

• Put the date of your second vaccination appointment in your calendar and keep your appointment information in a safe place.

•  Continue to follow preventive measures after being vaccinated by washing your hands with soap and water  often for a minimum of 20 seconds, or using hand sanitizer; Keeping at least 1 metre distance between yourself and others; Meeting people in well ventilated, or outdoor spaces; Wearing a mask when you can’t keep your distance from others, or are inside a public space.

• Stay away from alcohol or tobacco because it can lower the body’s immune response and possibly interfere with the vaccine’s effectiveness.

• Share your experiences with others and encourage them to get vaccinated.

References:

https://www.unicef.org/coronavirus/before-during-after-covid-19-vaccine

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