The Latest: How to prepare for your vaccine shot

Alexandra Sifferlin
Medium Coronavirus Blog
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2 min readFeb 5, 2021

Dear Reader,

Here’s a first: Some non-Covid news to share with you all. It’s bittersweet to announce that this is my final Coronavirus Blog newsletter. Today is my last day at Medium, as I am beginning a new role at the New York Times. It’s been an honor to navigate the ups and downs of the Covid-19 pandemic with you. I will miss sharing space in your inbox each week.

I’m thrilled to pass the torch on to Yasmin Tayag, someone Blog readers will be quite familiar with. Yasmin has written many important stories on the science of Covid-19 and how health inequities have impacted the trajectory of the pandemic. She will take over the Blog and newsletter beginning Monday. In the meantime, follow Yasmin here to catch up on her incredible work.

This last year has been really tough and heartbreaking, and it’s hard to process when you’re still in the thick of it. But I do think we’ve entered a new, hopeful phase. I am really looking forward to what’s to come. And I will continue to be a loyal reader of the Blog!

Be well,

Alexandra Sifferlin
Editor, Medium Coronavirus Blog

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A quick how-to: The best ways to prepare for your vaccine

As Yasmin reports, preparing to receive your vaccine dose — whether it’s your first or second — can make your vaccination and the following days go as smoothly as possible. You can take medication like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or an NSAID after your vaccination to prevent soreness and may want to give yourself some time after your second vaccination to manage any side effects.

Read more tips here.

What we’re talking about on the blog

Yes, the pandemic is aging you. As Markham Heid reports in Elemental, the stress from the pandemic is taking a toll. “I think the chronic stressors that impact our body the most are both unpredictable and uncontrollable,” says one expert. “And the pandemic is both.” Read more here.

There’s a reason the second shot can feel more intense. Anecdotally, some people have reported feeling more significant side effects after their second shot of an mRNA Covid-19 vaccine. Science reporter Katherine Wu digs into the reasons why in a new piece for The Atlantic. Bottom line: It’s a sign the immune system is kicking into gear. Read more.

Some good news for pregnant people. Two new studies show pregnant people who’ve had Covid-19 pass protective antibodies to babies. While no one wants to get Covid-19, the studies offer some reassurance to pregnant people that maternal infection may provide some protection for their babies after birth, writes OB-GYN Jeff Livingston, MD. Read more.

A few more smart reads

Scientists Are Optimistic That the Vaccine Will Partially Prevent Infection

The Surprising Reason Why Alcohol Stores Are Considered Essential Services

3 Ways to Hold Space for Black People With Vaccine Doubts

Coming Soon: The ‘Vaccine Passport’ (New York Times)



Alexandra Sifferlin
Medium Coronavirus Blog

Health and science journalist. Former editor of Medium’s Covid-19 Blog and deputy editor at Elemental. TIME Magazine writer before that