Can’t Get the COVID Vaccine Yet? What to Do While You Wait

You may not be able to get the vaccine right now, but you can still do these things to stay safer.

Feel like you’re on a pandemic rollercoaster these days? One day you’re excited that vaccines are being approved and appear to be highly effective against COVID-19. The next day you may be frustrated, anxious or worried because you don’t know when you’ll actually be able to get a vaccine.

Vaccine supply is currently limited, so if you’re not in a high-priority group it may be spring or summer before it’s your turn to get vaccinated. Even if you’re eligible for a vaccine right now, you may not be able to get one yet because there are simply not enough vaccines available.

So what should you do while you wait? For one, don’t give up hope as we start nearing the home-stretch of this pandemic. We will get to a place where everyone who wants a vaccine can get one – we’re just not quite there yet. And don’t stop taking all the precautions that have kept you safe up until now. We’ve come too far to give up now.

Here’s what you can do while you wait:

  • Stay informed. How, when and where you can get the COVID-19 vaccine will vary depending on where you live. Check with your local health department to find out what phase you fall into, when the vaccine should be available to you and how you can sign up. Information is constantly changing, so stay up to date as much as possible.
  • Check as many places as you can. It may be difficult to find vaccine appointments where you live. There may be various websites where you can add your name to lists so you will be notified when appointments become available. Since you may have more luck in one place than another, being on multiple waitlists increases your chance of getting an appointment. You should not, however, make multiple appointments since you will be taking appointments away from others who need them.
  • Be patient. Because vaccine supply is low, many places are not able to make appointments at this time. Keep checking every day so you’ll have the best chance of getting an appointment when one becomes available. If you added your name to a waitlist, you will hopefully be notified when appointments become available to you. It may be frustrating, but patience is needed right now.
  • Don’t give up on what has kept you safe. The best thing you can do while you wait for your vaccine is what you’ve been doing all along. Keep wearing a mask (and wear it properly – over your mouth and nose), stay at least 6 feet from people you don’t live with, wash your hands frequently, don’t touch your face, clean high-touch items and avoid large gatherings. Now is not the time to give up on important safety precautions that keep you and others protected from the virus.

Even after getting vaccinated, you’ll need to continue doing most of what you’ve been doing throughout the pandemic, such as wearing masks and social distancing. It takes time for your body to build immunity after getting the vaccine, which is given in two doses 3 or 4 weeks apart. And even though the vaccines are very effective at stopping you from getting very sick from COVID-19, it’s not yet known if they will stop you from spreading the virus even if you have no symptoms. So until the majority of the population is vaccinated and we reach herd immunity, safety measures against the virus still need to be followed.

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Date Last Reviewed: January 21, 2021

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

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