With the COVID-19 vaccination campaign having started in France and other countries, more and more people can now be vaccinated. You don't have to do much to prepare for it, but you might want to know how to register and where to get the injection. Continue to wear a mask and respect social distancing even after getting vaccinated to protect yourself and others. In France, in March 2021, vaccination is free for all and it is not compulsory.
Part 1 of 11: talk to your doctor
Step 1. Anticipate
You may not have time to talk to your doctor when you get the vaccine. If you have any questions, it is best to ask them beforehand over the phone or by making an appointment. In France, you do not choose your vaccine, the HAS (Haute Autorité de Santé) defines the eligible people for each vaccine as well as the methods of use, but if you have any doubts, your doctor can answer your questions.
- Experts assure that vaccination against COVID-19 is safe, even if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are concerned, speak with your doctor before making a decision.
- You can get the vaccine even if you have health problems, as long as you have not had an allergic reaction to a vaccine before. You can find out more about side effects on the ANSM.santé.fr website.
Part 2 of 11: book an appointment online
Step 1. Go to the santé.fr website
You will be able to access the platform which allows you to make an appointment online for each vaccination center. When you arrive on the page, you will have to select a region to find a center near you. In France, vaccination in pharmacies should begin in the week of March 15, 2021.
- There are local systems in France (departmental or regional) allowing you to make an appointment by telephone, check with your doctor.
- You can also call the national toll free number 0 800 009 110. You will be redirected to a switchboard of a vaccination center or can get help to make an appointment.
- Some people are vaccinated as a priority, for example the elderly in USLD, in EHPAD, people over 75 years old, nursing staff … If you are 30 years old and are in good shape, you may therefore have to wait a bit..
Part 3 of 11: Avoid Having Further Injections During the Same Time
Step 1. Target your vaccinations
Experts are not sure if other vaccines can interfere with the COVID-19 vaccine. So wait at least 14 days before and after the COVID-19 vaccination to receive another injection. This will reduce the likelihood of having side effects which may occur if you receive more than one injection.
If you have an appointment for an injection on a date close to your COVID-19 vaccine date, there is no need to cancel your COVID vaccination
Part 4 of 11: wear a mask
Step 1. Protect yourself (and others)
Before getting vaccinated, stay home as much as possible, put on a mask when you go out, and stay at least 2 m away from people you do not live with. Wash your hands often to avoid infecting others and to protect yourself.
Continue to wear a mask even after vaccination to protect those around you
Part 5 of 11: Wait 90 Days If You Have COVID-19
Step 1. Have you been treated for COVID-19?
If you have been treated with antibodies or plasma, wait at least 90 days after the end of treatment to get the vaccine, as experts do not know if the treatments can affect the effect of the vaccine. Don't wait too long either, as experts also don't know how long you are immune to after having COVID-19.
If you had COVID-19 and were not treated with plasma or antibodies, you can get the vaccine as soon as you have recovered
Part 6 of 11: eat and drink on the day of the injection
Step 1. Drink plenty of water and eat a good meal
Some people complain of feeling weak after the injection, so it is recommended to drink plenty of water and eat a balanced meal before going to the vaccination center. Keep in mind that you may have to wait a while before you receive the injection.
Part 7 of 11: Take your Vitale card with you
Step 1. Don't forget your papers
Take your identity document and your Vitale card when going to be vaccinated. If you forget them, ask a family member to bring them to you. Vaccination against COVID-19 is (in March 2021) reserved for people who have a Vitale card.
- If you do not have your Vitale card, you will not be able to receive your injection (except perhaps in a few special cases).
- A home vaccination service is being set up (March 2021) for the elderly who are too fragile to go to a vaccination center.
Part 8 of 11: put on a mask on the date of the appointment
Step 1. Don't forget your mask
You and the person giving you the injection must wear one. Make sure you cover your mouth and nose well! If you do not have a mask, you will not be able to enter the establishment …
Keep your mask on while you are waiting and during the vaccination
Part 9 of 11: dress for the occasion
Step 1. The injection is given into the arm or shoulder
It is therefore convenient to wear a loose t-shirt or shirt whose sleeves you can easily roll up. In addition, you may feel pain that is amplified by tight clothing.
If you're concerned about pain, put a cooler in your car with a bag or two of ice cubes inside. This will allow you to apply the ice to the area on your way out
Part 10 of 11: rest after the injection
Step 1. Take a few days off
After receiving the first injection, some people have flu-like symptoms. During the 48 hours after the injection, you may have a fever, chills, fatigue and a headache. So plan to rest and drink plenty of water to hydrate yourself well and recover faster.
- When you get the first injection, you may need to stay around 15 minutes for the healthcare staff to make sure you do not have a severe reaction.
- If your arm is swollen or sore, you can put a cloth soaked in cold water on the area to help reduce the inflammation.
- If you experience strong side effects, call your doctor or emergency room (15 or 112).
Part 11 of 11: make the second date
Step 1. Yes, for now, you need a 2nd injection
After you have received the first injection, you will need to wait 21 to 42 days (for vaccines available in March 2021) before receiving the 2nd injection.
- With the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, you will have to wait 21 days.
- With the Moderna vaccine you will wait 28 days and with the AstraZeneca vaccine it will be 9 to 12 weeks.
- Many people complain of side effects after the second injection. It goes like the first one, but you may need to rest longer.
- These tips are intended for the French readership. Recommendations and procedure may vary by country.
- The vaccination campaign will evolve, new doses will arrive in the centers. Stay informed by contacting your doctor or by going to the Solidarités-santé.fr website.
- Moderna and Pfizer use the same mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) to deliver the antibodies. The fundamental difference is the time it takes between the 2 injections and the temperature at which the vaccines are stored.
- If you have a severe allergic reaction after the injection, call emergency immediately by dialing 15 or 112.
- If you are allergic to any components of the vaccine, do not get the vaccine.