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3 things to know before getting a COVID-19 vaccine

There are a few things to keep in mind for those eligible to get a vaccine right now, as they schedule an appointment.

ATLANTA — By the end of the week, 15,000 people in the the Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale County Health District will have received their first vaccine shot

The Health District is expecting another shipment by Wednesday, and is advising residents to start checking its site Tuesday night for appointments next week.

In this district, dozens of volunteers from their Medical Reserve Corps have stepped up to help the process move along.

"Not just medical people, but (also) data entry to vaccinators to people who can help us observe a patient," said District Health Director Dr. Audrey Arona.

Arona told 11Alive the health district is glad to have the help in vaccinating the huge number of people 65 and older and first responders, but there are a few things to keep in mind for those eligible to get a vaccine right now, as they schedule an appointment.

1. Don’t get any other type of vaccine.

Even for the flu or pneumonia - in the 14 days leading up to your appointment.

"Likewise, once you receive the COVID vaccine, you shouldn’t get another vaccine until 14 days after that,” Arona advised.

Arona said this is standard practice, so providers can better monitor any side effects. 

2. If you’ve already had COVID and recovered, you don’t have to wait to get the vaccine - unless you received certain medications.

"A person who received treatment for COVID-19, like remdesivir or ... the monoclonal antibody or convalescent plasma, they cannot receive the vaccine for 90 days,” Arona said.

3. While doctors are still studying how long the vaccine's protection lasts, at this point - don't expect to have to get it each year. 

"The initial case analysis told us that they didn’t think this would be an annual vaccine," Arona said, rather it would likely be a booster two to four years from now.

Dr. Arona added the vaccines should even protect against the more contagious COVID variants that have been found recently.