The COVID-19 virus seems to be strengthening in winter as global tallies continue to accelerate. In this critical moment, the Hong Kong government is launching the COVID-19 vaccination program, starting from next month. If you or your family members are going to take the jabs, there are a number of things you should prepare for.
1. Are you allergic to anything?
If you do, document clearly the allergies you have and present it in the vaccination centre. Note that even if you have some kind of allergy does not totally rule out you to receive COVID-19 vaccination. Clear documentation will help the healthcare workers make the appropriate assessment.
2. Prepare a list of drugs you’re taking
Make note especially if you are taking blood thinners. Because the COVID-19 shot is injected into the muscle, extra caution is needed for people taking drugs like warfarin, and requires assessment by a healthcare professional. That said, you may still be able to take the vaccine while on aspirin or newer generation blood thinner. The healthcare professional will determine whether you are fit for the vaccine if they know your medical history.
3. Don’t take other vaccines together with COVID-19 jabs
Indeed there is no medical evidence that we shouldn’t do so, but if a person develops side effects or complications after vaccination, it will be difficult to know which one is the culprit.
Now at the flu surge, it is better to take the flu jab now but ideally two weeks apart from a COVID-19 vaccine.
4. Wear short sleeves
The jab is applied on the upper arm. It will make life easier if you are wearing short sleeves with a jacket.
5. Allow enough time for vaccination
Although the injection takes less than one minute, one also need to take into consideration the time required for registration and checking your personal particulars. After the shot, it is also required to stay for observation for 30 minutes. The whole process may therefore take up to an hour.
Finally, it must be stressed that having received the vaccine does not mean you gain full immunity right away. We should still adhere to wearing mask, hand hygiene and social distancing to reduce infection risks.
The above content is reviewed by Dr Alexander Chiu - Medical Director, Health and Employee Benefits of AXA Hong Kong and Macau
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