Before your appointment
Find your vaccination records.
Bring your vaccination records to your appointment to verify what vaccines you’ve already had. Learn more about finding your vaccination records.
All states and some cities have centralized registries of vaccines given by local providers. A registry may not have all records, but can be a great place to check. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a listing of registry contacts or just call the CDC Information Contact Center at 800-232-4636 (CDC-INFO).
- Asking doctors you’ve seen in the past
- Checking with former employers who may have required vaccines
- Checking to see if your high school or college still has your records
Talk to a healthcare professional.
John Hopkins offers a chat line to answer questions about COVID-19 vaccinations.
During your appointment
Get the facts about vaccines.
During your vaccination appointment, your doctor is required to give you a Vaccine Information Statement that explains the benefits and risks of a vaccine. It’s important to ask your doctor any questions you may have about the vaccine or the vaccination process. Before you leave the doctor's office, check that your doctor added the vaccine to your vaccination records.
Ensure you're eligible for a vaccine.
Though rare, some people may not be able to receive vaccines. Learn more about who should not get vaccinated. Tell your doctor if you:
- Have any allergies
- Have had serious side effects from a vaccine in the past
- Are pregnant or planning to get pregnant
- Are ill
- Take deep breaths
- Avoid looking at the syringe
- Relax your muscles
After your appointment
Most people don’t have any serious side effects from vaccines. Common side effects include:
- Pain, swelling, or redness at the injection site
- Mild fever
- Muscle and joint aches
Try these tips to help you feel better:
- Drink fluids
- Place a cool, wet washcloth on the injection site
- Take a non-aspirin pain reliever, if approved by your doctor
- Try moving your arm around to help reduce the pain and swelling
It’s very unlikely that you will have serious side effects from a vaccine. If you have any symptoms that concern you after you get vaccinated, call your doctor.
Paying for Vaccines
Most vaccines are covered by insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare. They may also be included as part of your free wellness visits. Vaccines are an important part of wellness and are usually covered at no cost as part of these visits. Many local health departments also offer free vaccinations. Know your options about insurance coverage. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has information about free and low-cost vaccines.