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What to Expect Before, During, and After COVID-19 Vaccination

Two vaccines were approved to prevent COVID-19 in India by the DGCI — COVAXIN and Covishield.

1. COVAXIN: The first vaccine for COVID-19 in India that was developed in partnership with the ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research)

2. Covishield: Developed by the University of Oxford, along with AstraZeneca and manufactured by Serum Institute of India for Indian residents

Right now, both the vaccines are being rolled out mainly to healthcare and frontline workers, individuals over 50 years, and high-risk patients (people below 50 years with comorbid conditions).

Currently, getting a COVID-19 vaccine is at the top of everybody’s minds. Therefore, it is normal for most of us to have questions about the process, especially what to expect before, during, and after COVID-19 Vaccination at some point in the future. Here’s what you have to know if you wish to be prepared for what is to come.

Before Vaccination

What you should do before getting the COVID-19 vaccine?

First, check with your doctor if a COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for you right now. (Again, at preset, it is only being administered to healthcare and frontline workers, and to certain higher-risk groups, but this will change over time.)

Learn more about how the vaccine works and the benefits of getting COVID-19 vaccination. The Vaccination is a safer way to help build protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. Two major benefits of getting COVID-19 Vaccination include helping to keep you from getting COVID-19 infection and stopping the spread of this global pandemic.

Here are some Dos & Don’ts to follow before taking COVID Vaccine


  1. Eat earlier and arrive well-rested: Ensure a good sleep the night before your vaccination appointment. This will help your immune system to work at its fullest potential. Also, if your appointment is around mealtime, eat beforehand and drink water.
  2. Stay hydrated before the vaccine.
  3. Wear loose clothing. Wear clothing that allows the vaccinator to access your upper arm easily as the vaccine is given at the deltoid muscle (the big muscle on the shoulder) – Consider wearing a short-sleeved shirt, if possible


  1. Avoid alcohol: While there are no official guidelines on this, it is a good idea not to drink alcohol the night before the vaccination
  2. Avoid Painkillers: It is best to avoid painkillers unless you take them routinely for some medical condition. People should not take a painkiller as a preventive measure anticipating any potential side effects before getting a vaccine.

During Vaccination

What to expect during COVID-19 Vaccine?

As reported, a time slot is allotted to for your turn to get the vaccination, which will happen in one of the selected medical centers right now. While a COVID vaccine is no different from any other vaccines, you have to follow the given precautions when you go for your appointment to get vaccinated since we are still in the middle of a pandemic and you will not be considered fully safe and immune till you get the second dose.

Follow these precautions during your appointment for vaccination:

  1. Follow all the hand hygiene recommendations
  2. Cover your mouth and nose with a mask
  3. Stay at least six feet away from others (until it is time to be vaccinated)
  4. Follow all respiratory hygiene/cough etiquettes

The vaccines will be given via an intramuscular route. A small area on your arm will be first sterilized with a solution, and then the vaccine dose will be injected through a syringe.

People who have successfully taken the vaccine will get a receipt (mostly an SMS – the electronic receipt). They will also be informed of the scheduled date of the next vaccine dose as well.

You will be asked to wait for 30 minutes to make sure you don’t have a adverse reaction.

After Vaccination

What to expect after getting COVID-19 vaccine?

You will not be considered fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 pandemic until you get a second shot, which is usually given after 28 days. And you will have to talk to your vaccine provider for any specifics on that.

You may experience some minor side effects after getting vaccinated. Some of the most common side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine include:

• Pain at the injection site

• Swelling in your arm (where you got your shot)

• Chills

• Fever

• Headache

• Tiredness

If you experience arm swelling or soreness, hold a cool, clean wet washcloth over the area. Dress lightly and drink plenty of fluids if you have a fever. However, if you have pain or discomfort, it is better to talk to your doctor about taking any OTC (over-the-counter) medicine.

Generally, the side effects (if you have them) may go away in a day or two. But, do call your doctor if your side effects do not seem to go away after a few days and if the tenderness or redness in the area you got the shot increases after 24 hours.

It is recommended that you get the second shot of COVID-19 vaccine even if you have side effects after the first one, unless your doctor or the vaccination provider tells you not to get a second shot.

Please understand that even with two shots, it can take a little time for your body to build up immunity to COVID-19. The CDC says that despite taking both the shots, you may not be fully protected until ‘a week or two’ after the second shot.

Words of Caution

It is still important to wear a mask in public, maintain social distancing, follow hand hygiene recommendations, respiratory hygiene/cough etiquettes and follow other methods of preventing the spread of COVID-19 infection. The vaccine is not 100% perfect, after all, and it is not clear at this point whether an individual can still spread the virus after he/she has been vaccinated. Therefore, keep following recommendations until the public health officials advise otherwise.

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