Preparing for your COVID-19 vaccine appointment

(NC) Feeling nervous about your COVID-19 vaccine appointment? It’s more common than you think and nothing to be embarrassed about. But don’t let that stop you from getting your shot when it’s available to you.

Here are some tips to help you feel prepared, comfortable and to ensure a positive experience. Choose the strategies that you want to use and prepare ahead of time. Using more than one strategy can be helpful.


Before your appointment

  • Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist questions about what to expect.
  • Wear a short-sleeved or loose-fitting top.
  • If you are concerned about pain associated with the injection, you can apply an anaesthetic cream or patch before your appointment. These medicines are available without a prescription, but seek guidance from a pharmacist or healthcare provider about how to use the product. Keep in mind the product will need time to take effect, so plan ahead.

During vaccination

  • Sit upright during vaccination. If you’ve had incidents of fainting or light-headedness during past injections, it may be suggested that you lie down.
  • Relax your arm — let it feel loose and jiggly like cooked spaghetti.
  • Use deep breathing to help you relax and feel calm.
  • If you feel dizzy, squeeze your legs together or lie down.
  • Distract yourself — use your phone or tablet, or have a conversation.
  • Finally, if you are nervous, say so. There are other tips and tricks that the clinic may have to help distract or comfort you.

After your appointment
The vaccine kicks your body into high gear to build up protection against COVID-19, and that can come with some mild to moderate discomfort and flu-like symptoms. Common side effects may include mild fever or pain, redness or swelling at the injection site. If you develop any serious symptoms or symptoms that could be an allergic reaction, seek medical attention right away.

Remember that most side effects from vaccines are common and temporary. Talk to your healthcare provider about over-the-counter medications that can help relieve some common side effects.

More information on the COVID-19 vaccines can be found at