Simple tips to stay healthy after you get the vaccine


Jade Poole from I write words

after you get the vaccine

The lowdown on getting vaccinated, how to soothe any side effects and what life looks like after the jab.

It’s here, ladies and gentlemen. The moment we’ve all been waiting for: finally, South Africa is gaining traction on our COVID-19 vaccination rollout. After nearly two years of wondering when on earth we’re going to beat this thing, we’re starting to see a glimmer of hope for returning back to normal.

And what does normal look like? Normal looks like freely seeing family and friends, going out to eat without watching your WhatsApp group of the “guys, I need to get tested” message and eventually, kicking these awful face masks to the curb.

Of course, people have their concerns about the vaccine. Why does it make you feel so sick afterwards? Is it safe? Am I going to grow wings by next year? (Honestly, not the worst outcome).

Whilst there has been plenty of fear-mongering out there, we can say one thing with confidence: the vaccination works. According to the CDC, after being vaccinated your chance of dying or becoming hospitalized due to COVID-29 is 0.0026% (stated on the 14th of June 2021). 

So, if you’re one of the fantastic people out there who is looking to get this whole Corona fiasco out the door, read more about keeping yourself healthy after you’ve had the vaccination.

Read this next: What to know about the COVID-19 vaccine in South Africa

Soothing the side effects

Like any vaccination, there are possible side effects you may feel after you get the jab. You shouldn’t let these side effects deter you - they’re normal and completely expected. What you can do, is make sure you look after yourself leading up to the vaccine to help mitigate the severity of the side effects.

The side effects of the vaccination look very much like the common cold or a bout of flu - so nothing you haven’t experienced before. Side effects could include:

  • Arm soreness or slight swelling
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea

Again, these are completely normal and there is no cause for alarm. You can look after yourself exactly the same way you would if you were sick: get enough sleep, drink plenty of water and binge-watch your favourite show while you wait to feel better. 

If you’re feeling particularly under the weather, you could try:

  • A cool bath
  • An ice pack to soothe the injection site
  • Drinking a lot of water before and after the vaccine
  • Taking an over the counter painkiller.

People are advised NOT to take any flu medication as this could hinder the efficacy of the vaccine as it works through your body. Panado and Ibuprofen should be enough to make you feel better. 

If you are feeling any overwhelmingly awful symptoms that seem uncommon, you should get in touch with your doctor ASAP. The vaccination site you went to would have also asked you to report any varying side effects for research.

After the jab

What is life predicted to look like after you get the vaccine? According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people will be able to:

  1. Socialise in groups (amongst other vaccinated people) without using a face mask.
  2. Visit loved ones and households (even if they have not been vaccinated) without wearing a mask. However, use your discretion when visiting the elderly or people with comorbidities)
  3. Skip the 14 day quarantine period if you come into contact with a COVID-19 positive person.

When am I fully vaccinated?

There are three main vaccinations in South Africa: Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. Often you will receive whichever one is available where you registered, but there are avenues you can take to get your preferred one. Moderna and Pfizer both require two doses - and you will be fully vaccinated two weeks after your second one. J&J only requires one injection and after two weeks, you are considered fully vaccinated.

Don’t forget what we’ve learned

This has been a trying time for us all. Some of us have lost loved ones and we have seen the economic impact this health crisis has had on the entire world. We don’t want to go backwards.

All of the hygiene protocols we have adopted over the past two years are still relevant and effective when it comes to protecting your health. If you feel a bit sick, wear a mask (even if it’s not COVID, don’t you think it’s polite to keep others safe?) and continue to wash your hands and make sure your surfaces are sanitised. Just because the pandemic is nearly over, that doesn’t mean we should forget how to keep ourselves and others healthy. 

If you haven’t been fully vaccinated yet but you’re getting there,  we wish you luck and congratulate you on your wise choice to look after yourself. (Remember to move that arm around, it may hurt but muscle movement is always a good thing)

If you want to apply to be vaccinated, you can pop onto the official government application page here.


Yours in affordable health insurance, 


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