“This is an exciting time and the beginning of the end of this pandemic,” said Dr. Murphy. “The most rewarding thing has been seeing my own patients finally getting their shots. I try to make sure they are prepared as possible for what to expect when their turn comes.” Here are a few of Dr. Murphy’s tips and answers to some frequently asked questions.
What should I wear to get my vaccine?
The vaccine is given in the deltoid muscle which is located in your shoulder and upper arm area. I’d recommend you wear a shirt with short sleeves so that area will be more accessible to the clinician giving you the vaccine. If it’s cold outside, you can wear a sweater or jacket, but just make sure you have that short-sleeved shirt underneath.
Which arm should I get the vaccine in?
I always recommend that my patients get a shot in their non-dominant arm, the arm they don’t use as much, because your arm can sometimes be a little sore for a few days after. Also, if there is an arm that you mainly lay on when you are sleeping, you may want to get your shot in the opposite arm. But you should be able to get the shot in either arm and still complete your day to day activities. If you are not able to freely move your arm after receiving a shot, which is rare, then you’d want to call your physician immediately.
Will it hurt?
It really depends. Some of my patients have said that they didn’t feel a thing while others said they only felt a little prick and some pressure. After receiving the shot, some have said they didn’t have any discomfort. I’ve had others who said their arm was a little sore or had a little redness for 1-3 days after which is a normal side effect of getting any shot.
Can I take over the counter pain medicines?
If you develop soreness in your arm, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that you can take acetaminophen or ibuprofen. However, it is not recommended to take acetaminophen or ibuprofen before your vaccine. There is not enough known about how certain medications can or cannot interfere with the vaccines. Not to mention, the pain that some people may experience after having a vaccine is not enough to warrant taking a pain medication prior to your appointment. Wait and see if you need it and then take some to reduce the pain if it arises.
Can I eat before my appointment?
Of course, and drink lots of water too. Some people get a little lightheaded when they get a shot. Eating beforehand and being hydrated can help you have the best chance of a good vaccination experience before and after your shot.
On that note, avoid drinking alcohol the night before your appointment. Alcohol dehydrates you and you don’t want to go into your appointment already not feeling well, especially when there is the possibility of other side effects after your shot.
Do I have to wear a mask to my appointment and will I have to wear a mask after I get it?
Right now, masking is encouraged at all CMC facilities. Masking is one way to protect yourselves and others from illnesses like COVID-19 and the flu. You may see some of our healthcare workers wearing a mask.
As far as not wearing a mask after getting vaccinated, that isn’t going to change very much. It’s still recommended that people wear their masks because, although the vaccine gives you the tools to fight off the virus, it doesn’t mean that you can’t still contract the illness and spread it to others. Masking is about protecting those around us who haven’t been able to get their own vaccinations. Recently, the CDC said you are ok to be unmasked around others who have been vaccinated. Be patient and hopefully we’ll see restrictions change soon as more and more people become vaccinated.
Where do I go for my appointment?
Right now, Conway Medical Center has one vaccination clinic that is located here at CMC Health Plaza South where my primary care office is located. It is on the first floor and you will be greeted at the door and guided through the whole process which is very quick and efficient. Most people are in and out in 20 minutes.
What should I bring?
You’ll need to brink a photo id or your driver’s license with you for identification purposes. I’d also recommend bringing a book or a crossword puzzle with you because you will need to sit for at least 15 minutes for observation after you receive the vaccine. Something to help you pass the time.
About Dr. David Murphy
Dr. David W. Murphy has a long history of experience in family medicine. With experience in emergency medicine, women’s health, and family medicine Dr. Murphy is here to help.
Dr. Murphy has been board certified in Family Medicine since 1989. He also served as an Assistant Professor at the Center for Family Medicine Residency Program in Greenville, SC, as well as an adjunct faculty member at VCOM Medical School.
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Murphy by calling 843-347-8000.