As you definitely know by now, the COVID vaccine has begun rolling out in Australia. A pivotal moment in the pandemic, even though some of us may be a bit nervous about getting the jab due to a fear of needles — a perfectly valid phobia. If you’re wondering what phase you’ll be vaccinated in (and what sub-phase), the Department of Health has an eligibility checker.
Regardless of phase, there are several ways to prepare for getting your first COVID vaccination.
The first thing to do is to make sure all your details — and those of any dependents you might have — are up to date on Medicare. If you aren’t enrolled, you can do that here. If you aren’t eligible for Medicare, you can get an Individual Health Identifier. The government is urging people to enrol; doing so allows people to receive an immunisation history statement post jab. The statement acts as proof of receiving the vaccine.
The next step is, well, receiving the jab. And there are several things to know in preparation for the main event.
The night before, you should refrain from consuming alcohol, you should get a good night’s sleep and you should also have a good breakfast the morning of, according to Dr Lara Herrero, virologist and clinical from Griffith University’s Institute for Glycomics. Speaking to ABC News, she also suggested not overextending yourself physically in the lead-up.
To the appointment, make sure to bring photo ID, your Medicare card, and employee ID —if you’re getting the vaccine due to occupation. You’ll also need to provide information about any medical conditions and current medication, as well as information on previous COVID vaccines received and any reactions you may have had to any vaccine in the past. Oh, and don’t forget to provide the name of current GP and specialist doctors. And rounding up the list is a face mask — if it’s required.
As for A.J. — after jab? You’ll be required to wait 15 minutes (30, depending on previous medical conditions) for observation. Time to brush up on small talk, or plan a book to bring along with you.
If your arm is sore after the COVID vaccine — which is fairly common with most vaccines — Dr Sanjeev Jain, M.D., a doctor double-board certified in immunology and internal medicine at Columbia Asthma and Allergy Clinic, told Bustle that “icing the site for 20 minutes several times a day can reduce discomfort”. You can also take paracetamol or ibuprofen if you experience pain at the injection site, or for fever, headaches or body aches.