What to know before heading into your vaccine appointment

Mumbi Carter, 72, of Suitland, Md., receives a coronavirus vaccine shot from Gina Brown, dean of the College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences at Howard University. The university's College of Medicine distributed vaccine doses to the D.C. community Feb. 11. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

Every day, millions of Americans are rolling up their sleeves to get a coronavirus vaccine. States are starting to open up vaccination clinics to all adults, no matter where they fall on a priority list, and the federal government has secured a cache of shots large enough to vaccinate everyone in the country, with some to spare.

Public health experts are encouraging everyone to get vaccinated — and fast — to reduce the number of hospitalizations and coronavirus-related deaths.

All the coronavirus vaccines are free, paid for by the federal government, for anyone living in the United States — regardless of your immigration status or health insurance. Vaccine clinics cannot charge you for a shot, but they may ask for your insurance information to then charge the health-care provider a fee.

If you’re registered or scheduled for a vaccination, here’s what you need to know:

  • Do not schedule an appointment for a coronavirus vaccine within 14 days of receiving another vaccine, whether it be for the seasonal flu or another disease.
  • Dress in short-sleeves or layers so it’s easy to inject the vaccine into your upper arm.
  • Arrive on time and wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose.
  • Cancel or postpone your appointment if you’re not feeling well.

If you have concerns or questions about whether you should get a vaccine based on allergies, underlying medical conditions or other health concerns, talk to your doctor first.