A guide on how to prepare for the COVID-19 vaccination

What to do before, on the day, and after getting the COVID-19 vaccine

As vaccination programs against COVID-19 are underway in most local government units, many are still in doubt and are not yet fully prepared to get inoculated. When deciding on whether or not to get a jab, it’s important to consider that getting vaccinated against COVID-19 will not only prevent you from getting the virus and suffering from severe symptoms.Doing so will also protect your loved ones and the community as we strive to achieve herd immunity.

For those who may still have questions about the vaccination process and what to expect when their turn to get vaccinated comes, AXA Philippines, one of the country’s leading insurance providers, has enlisted the help of Dr. Nina Gloriani, head of the vaccine development expert panel of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), to share expert advice on what to do before, during, and after getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Before your appointment. Individuals with comorbidities or those classified under the Department of Health’s A3 eligibility category should first discuss vaccine-specific risks and benefits with their attending physicians and obtain medical clearance. These include people with immune-deficiencies and senior citizens with special conditions (bedridden, in vegetative states, or with limited life expectancies). Meanwhile, individuals without health issues may have their health profiling, provision of informed consent, and screening on the day of vaccination. Everyone who’s going to get a vaccine is advised to eat healthy balanced meals, drink plenty of fluids, and get enough rest and sleep before the appointment.

Vaccination day. On the day of your appointment, always wear a face mask and face shield and bring hand sanitizer or alcohol with you. If you belong to the A3 prioritization group, bring any proof of comorbidity. These may include a medical certificate, prescription for medicine, hospital records or surgical records and pathology reports. Don’t forget to bring any valid government or company ID, and your own ballpen for filling out forms. Be sure to take your maintenance medications before getting vaccinated unless your doctor says otherwise.

At the vaccination center. Upon arrival at the vaccination site, be ready to present required IDs and documents. Depending on your municipality, expect to wait for some time. Most LGUs have online registration in place and this significantly cuts the waiting time as you can already supply personal information and send consent online. If you did not go through online registration, you will be asked to sign an informed consent form stating that you agree to be vaccinated. After that, you will undergo a health screening to check if your vitals are stable and if you’re fit and qualified to get the vaccine at that time. If everything checks out, the medical staff will vaccinate you and observe you for 15-30 minutes, in case of an allergic or adverse reaction. They will also provide contact details or references so you can report any adverse effects after getting vaccinated.

After getting vaccinated. Like all medicine, vaccines may have side effects, most of which are mild and short-term, and not everyone experiences them. Common adverse effects, such as numbness or pain at injection site usually last for one to three days. If you experience fever, or flu-like symptoms, pain, or muscle aches, you may take paracetamol every four to six hours as needed. Make sure to report any adverse effects through the local vaccination site hotline, especially if symptoms or side effects persists after one to three days or if the symptoms become worse. Go to the nearest hospital if you experience severe or unusual symptoms such as difficulty breathing, wheezing, swelling of the face, or tightening of the throat.

Remember, you’re only fully protected after you receive two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine so mark your calendar for both appointments. Even after receiving both doses, make sure to still take preventive measures, especially when you’re in common public places.

Aside from getting the vaccine, there is more you can you do to protect your health and that of your family, especially with hospitalizations, lab tests, medicines, and the negative impact that this pandemic can have on your health and finances. As such, AXA Philippines offers its Global Health Access insurance product which, apart from providing medical coverage for epidemic and pandemic diseases such as COVID-19, now covers COVID-19 vaccines as well. The plan will also cover the treatment cost for complications or allergic reactions arising from approved COVID-19 vaccines.

Beyond comprehensive coverage worldwide and the inclusion of COVID-19 vaccination, Global Health Access policyholders can enjoy cashless payments in over 1,400 hospitals and clinics in the Philippines and over 9,000 hospitals globally. Plus, policyholders also have access to AXA’s global network of top-rated hospitals and doctors with the option to consult even those who are outside AXA’s network. Furthermore, also available are 24//7 health support anywhere in the world, international emergency medical assistance, road ambulance transport, and global concierge services.

To learn more about this health protection plan from AXA, visit www.axa.com.ph/health-protection/global-health-access.

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