You’ve gotten your first COVID vaccine dose. What now?

As of April 15th, it was announced that all Californians ages 16 and up can make appointments to receive their COVID vaccine through or other ways, such as through the CDC’s VaccineFinder or one’s private health insurance. Now that many people have started receiving their first dose, what can they do now?

First off, it is not recommended to post your vaccine card on social media as scammers are able to make replicas to sell due to rise in demand and the need for vaccine cards for travel in certain places. Additionally, identity theft can arise from posting your vaccination information online.

After getting your first vaccination, you may experience discomfort around the region where you got your shot as well as mild reactions, especially if you’ve contracted COVID-19 before. If discomfort arises, over the counter painkillers such as Tylenol are okay to take.

Additionally, because it is only your first dose, you are not fully protected from COVID-19 yet, with the Pfizer vaccine only having 50% efficacy post-first dose, with 80% efficacy two weeks after the first dose for Moderna and Pfizer. You should still follow CDC guidelines after getting vaccinated (even after your second dose!), such as wearing a mask and staying socially distanced, as if you did not get vaccinated in the first place.

Only after your second COVID-19 vaccination (for those getting two-shot vaccinations) are you able to build immunity. After the second shot, the Pfizer and BioNTech takes at least 7 days to build immunity while Moderna will take 14 while the single-shot Johnson and Johnson (Janssen) takes at least 28 days. Although the risk is low for contracting COVID-19 two weeks after completing your vaccination series, it is not recommended to attend large gatherings or socializing with those at increased risk of exposure and people should avoid non-essential activities and travel still.

If you want to celebrate after getting your vaccine, don’t drink alcohol. Instead, maybe a sweet treat might entice you: you can get one free “Original Glazed” donut from Krispy Kreme if you present your vaccination card.

Need a lift? Uber and Lyft offer free or discounted rides to and from vaccination locations.

It is important for everyone who is eligible to get the vaccine as soon as possible. According to Dr. Fauci, herd immunity would only be successful if 90% of the population gets vaccinated, especially with new strains increasing transmissions and intensity.