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How to take care of yourself. Dos and don'ts before and after COVID-19 vaccination



The SARS-CoV-2 virus continues its triumphant march across the planet for the eighteenth month. It changed the life of each of us—someone lost loved ones, someone lost their job, we all have to wear masks on our faces and try to limit live communication with other people.

Since February 2021, vaccination against this infection began in the world. In Ukraine—since March 2021.

In countries where 40% of the population and more were vaccinated even once, the incidence and mortality from COVID-19 have significantly decreased. Unfortunately, in Ukraine at the time of this article, no more than 6% of the population are vaccinated.

Pfizer and Moderna—access is provided

At the moment vaccines AstraZeneca, CoronaVak, Pfizer, and Moderna are used for vaccination in Ukraine. For example, on July 21 on the website helsi.me it was possible to sign up for Moderna vaccination at the IEC in Kyiv and medical institutions, and on July 22, the opportunity to get vaccinated with Pfizer for people under 60 years old (before that priority had been given to the elderly, and registration for this vaccine online in the capital had been not available). For emergency use, the Johnson&Johnson vaccine has also been approved. In total, over the summer, Ukraine will receive 2 million doses of Pfizer vaccine and the same amount of Moderna.

One can get the COVID-19 vaccine at government clinics, temporary vaccination centers on weekends, or at the workplace in organized teams.

Who can get the vaccine? Any citizen of Ukraine over 18 years of age and citizens of another country who have a temporary residence permit and have concluded a declaration with a family doctor.

Until recently, the Pfizer vaccine was available only to people over 60 years old, doctors, teachers, social workers, the military, including ATO participants, police officers, firefighters, and people with chronic diseases.

However, later, the Ministry of Health provided access to mass vaccinations for Pfizer, and Moderna was also brought to Ukraine. Given the rapid growth in the number of coronavirus cases, this is very pertinent.

Who cannot be vaccinated

All vaccines are produced using modern technologies. Therefore, the list of those who cannot be vaccinated is very short. It includes:

  • people under the age of 18 (while there is no drug against COVID-19 in Ukraine that can be used to vaccinate children and adolescents);
  • people whose temperature rises above 38 degrees Celsius on the day of vaccination (runny nose, cough, mild intestinal infection, chronic diseases, HIV infection will not be a contraindication for vaccination);
  • people with cancer or autoimmune diseases who are receiving chemotherapy at the moment (cancer or autoimmune disease itself is not a contraindication to vaccination; vaccination may be the only chance to survive with COVID-19).
  • people who are allergic to any component of the vaccine or have had a severe allergic reaction to the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine (allergies to animal hair, food, pollen, even bronchial asthma will not be a contraindication for vaccination).

Pregnancy will be a partial contraindication to vaccination. If a pregnant woman works where there is an increased risk of contracting COVID-19, then she can receive the Pfizer vaccine. If a woman is breastfeeding, she is highly recommended to be vaccinated against COVID-19 with the AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine.

Declaration and 30 minutes after vaccination

Important. Before you go to get vaccinated, you should contact your family doctor and check the status of the declaration concluded with them or conclude a declaration with the family doctor if you haven’t done it.

You should not take a course of antihistamines or any other medications before vaccination. This will weaken the immune system and make the vaccine less effective.

At a clinic or temporary vaccination center, you should adhere to a social distance of one and a half meters and wear a mask all the time.

Immediately after vaccination, the doctor or nurse will ask you to stay 30 minutes at the clinic or temporary vaccination center. This is in order to provide you with emergency assistance if an acute allergic reaction occurs, so this recommendation should not be neglected.

Two days after vaccination, the injection site may hurt when you move your hand. The temperature may rise to 38 degrees Celsius, head and back muscles may ache. There may be a feeling of "weakness" or "cold". There may be sleep disturbances and feelings of anxiety. This is a normal reaction of the body to the vaccine and it lasts no more than 48 hours.

No beach, gym, or crowds

After vaccination against COVID-19, it is recommended to stay at home for two days and minimize physical strain on the body. For these two days, it is advisable to refrain from going to the gym, the beach, or other crowded places. Your health may deteriorate, you may contract infectious diseases from other people, and symptoms of the disease will add to the unpleasant feelings from the vaccination.

After vaccination, you should not take antiallergenic or blood thinning agents—they will not relieve discomfort and can be dangerous to your health. The effectiveness of the vaccine may decrease, an allergic reaction or internal bleeding may begin due to oversaturation of the body with drugs.

The only drugs that are recommended after vaccination are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs—Ibuprofen or Paracetamol.

It is better to inform your family doctor about all unpleasant and painful feelings and follow their recommendations.

When to get vaccinated again

It makes no sense to check the blood for the antibodies after vaccination and find out their amount because the main link of protection against viruses is cellular immunity, and a blood test will not show it.

At the moment, the Ministry of Health of Ukraine has recommended that you get vaccinated for the second time with the same vaccine as in the first time in the term prescribed by the instructions.

The second vaccination with AstraZeneca needs to be done in 12 weeks after the first dose, with CoronaVac—after 21-28 days, with the Pfizer vaccine—after 21-28 days, with the Moderna vaccine—after 28 days.

It is important to understand:

  • If vaccinated earlier or later than the specified term, the effectiveness of the vaccination will be much lower.
  • If you are vaccinated with a vaccine different from the one you received the first time, the effectiveness of protection is questionable.

Take care of yourself and try to protect yourself from COVID-19 as soon as possible.