Mass COVID-19 vaccinations are underway in a number of places across the country. According to The New York Times, there are currently several mass COVID vaccination sites in states like New York, Texas, and California. Each day, these sites vaccinate many Americans with the goal of stopping the virus through herd immunity.
Although herd immunity has been a major talking point, healthcare professionals haven’t yet definitively found out what the necessary percentage would be for COVID-19, according to The World Health Organization (WHO). Herd immunity can be defined as “the indirect protection from an infectious disease that happens when a population is immune either through vaccination or immunity developed through previous infection” (WHO). The WHO makes it clear that even though the target measurement hasn’t been defined, getting the vaccine will still make a difference.
If you or someone you know is planning to get their first or second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, it’s important to keep safety top of mind, especially at a mass vaccination site. Here are several tips to remember:
5 Tips for Your Safety at a COVID Vaccination Site
- Wear a mask. While this practice has been recommended for a while now, it’s still encouraged by the CDC to wear a mask for your own protection and others’. When you interact with staff members on site, it is advantageous to wear your mask and especially important if you have to wait in line indoors or outdoors. The CDC has even announced that double-masking provides a better barrier against contracting the virus than just a single mask, with the exception of legitimate N95 masks.
- Maintain six feet between yourself and others if you’re in a facility. If you have to physically wait in line outdoors or indoors, then be sure to keep your distance between others who are also waiting to receive the vaccine. If you’ll be in a vehicle, this is not applicable, but always a good measure of precaution to remember.
- Bring your own hand sanitizer. Take a bottle of hand sanitizer with you to use in case you have to touch public surfaces. You may be asked to fill out paperwork prior to receiving the vaccine, so using hand sanitizer after touching papers, a pen, or a clipboard is very helpful until you’re able to wash your hands.
- Avoid touching public surfaces as much as possible. While waiting for an appointment, try to avoid touching public door handles or knobs whenever possible. You may want to bring along a clean tissue just in case you’ll need to touch those areas for access. For chairs, pens, papers, and clipboards, you may not be able to avoid these, but you can still sanitize or wash your hands once your appointment is over.
- Avoid touching your face. Try to minimize touching your eyes, nose, and mouth while waiting to get your vaccine, especially if you’ve handled public objects or are waiting around others. This will minimize your chances of infection.
Working to Ensure Safety for All
For those sponsoring vaccinations at a center or within communities, use these tips to help with coordination. You could have supplies like masks, hand sanitizer, and disposable gloves available for those getting the vaccine. For anyone assisting elderly persons, having these supplies on hand with you will also help to keep them safe during the process as well.
Photos by Boston Globe - Contributor / SETH WENIG - Contributor / GettyImage