Getting ready for your COVID-19 booster dose vaccination?
Find out what you need to do BEFORE, DURING and AFTER your booster dose vaccination!
What Should You Do Before Booster Dose Vaccination?
Just received your COVID-19 booster dose appointment? This is what you need to do BEFORE your COVID-19 vaccination!
There are fake messages on social media asking people to stop taking their medications before getting their booster dose vaccination. That is false and dangerous!
You should CONTINUE to take your medication, unless advised otherwise by your doctor.
Dietary / Exercise Restrictions?
There are generally NO restrictions on diet or exercise before your booster dose vaccination, unless your doctor advises otherwise.
However, you should limit or avoid alcohol the day before your vaccination. Excessive alcohol intake can suppress your immune system, and reduce the efficacy of the vaccine.
You should NOT take painkillers before going for your vaccination.
That’s because painkillers can suppress your immune response, and reduce the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine.
On Vaccination Day
On the day of your vaccination, please make sure to :
- Wear loose and comfortable clothes.
- Have a good meal, and drink some water. Don’t drink too much, or you will need to go to the toilet!
- Make sure you do NOT have a fever, or any other flu-like symptoms.
If you are sick, do NOT go to the clinic / hospital. Call them up and ask for a new appointment.
- Bring a smartphone with MySejahtera installed, if possible (Malaysia only, not compulsory).
- You must bring some form of identification – MyKad (Malaysia) or passport.
- Bring your medication list, if you need to ask the doctor’s advice at the clinic / hospital.
- If you are pregnant, please bring your health record book.
- You must wear a face mask, and if possible, wear a face shield.
- Bring a bottle of water, in case you get thirsty.
- Bring a pen, and something stiff to write on, to fill in the forms.
Which Booster Dose Should You Choose?
Using the Pfizer booster dose gives you a big boost in protection, almost equivalent to those who received three doses of the mRNA vaccine.
This is especially important for those who are using less efficacious vaccines like Sinovac and Sinopharm. While a Sinovac booster dose is offered, it will not give you as much protection as a Pfizer or AstraZeneca booster dose.
What Should You Do During Booster Dose Vaccination?
When you get to the vaccination room or booth, please follow these steps :
- Check the label of the vial or prepared syringe, to confirm the vaccine you are receiving. Here in Malaysia, that’s Pfizer, AstraZeneca or Sinovac.
- The doctor or nurse will show you the syringe, for you to verify that it has the correct volume.
If a low dead volume (LDV) syringe is used, you should read the volume from the first ring of the plunger, not the top.
Read more : How To Read The Volume Of LDV Syringe Correctly?
- Ask that you be allowed to record a video of the vaccination process.
- After receiving the injection, the doctor or nurse will show you the syringe, for you to confirm that it is empty.
- Before leaving the vaccination room, go through the video to confirm that you received the dose.
- If there is any discrepancy, you can address it with the doctor or nurse, or ask to see a supervisor.
What Should You Do After Booster Dose Vaccination?
First, congratulate yourself on protecting yourself and your family. Then take some photos before you leave the clinic / hospital, and share them on social media!
There are NO RESTRICTIONS on your diet or daily life after your booster dose vaccination. Please remember – you were vaccinated against COVID-19, not convicted of a crime!
However, it is best if you limit or avoid alcohol intake for a few days. Excessive alcohol intake can suppress your immune system, and reduce vaccine efficacy.
Exercise Or Not?
You may see health authorities advising against strenuous exercise after your vaccination. There are a few reasons :
- A precautionary measure for adolescents and young adults (below 30 years of age) who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, as there is a very small risk that they may get myocarditis / pericarditis.
- To avoid accidents if people start feeling side effects like headache or fever while exercising.
- To avoid people conflating post-exercise pain and reporting it as post-vaccination side effect.
Take it easy for a few days, and then start with light exercises. Listen to your body, and look out for chest pain or breathing difficulties.
Even if you are feeling fine, take the time to slowly ramp up your exercise over the next few days, as a precaution.
Continue COVID-19 Precautions!
- you will not receive maximum protection until 2-3 weeks after your booster dose.
- vaccines cannot protect you 100% against COVID-19, so there is a small risk of breakthrough infections.
- new variants like the Delta variant are partially resistant to vaccines.
Report Side Effects
You can expect some mild side effects over the next day or two, like fever, muscle ache and possibly headache.
You should not worry about them – they are evidence of your immune system learning to fight against COVID-19.
You can take painkillers if you need to, but try to use paracetamol / acetaminophen instead of NSAIDS like ibuprofen and aspirin.
Make sure you report any serious side effects you may encounter, and seek medical attention at the nearest clinic or hospital.
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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.
He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.
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