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Vaccinated woman showing her bandage
Getty Images / luza studios
| Credit: Getty Images / luza studios

ICYMI, every American adult is now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Still on the fence about getting yours? We spoke with infectious disease doctors to clear up some common myths.)

As we wrap up April, more than 43 percent of Americans have received at least one dose, and 30 percent are fully vaccinated, reports the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That means seven in 10 Americans still have at least one more vaccine shot ahead.

So speaking from those of us who have been there, booked that and are now fully vaccinated (hooray science!), here's what we wish we had handy before, during and after. Stock up before you step up for your shot and you'll be resting easier and just days away from these awesome activities that are now A-OK for those who are fully vaccinated.

8 Things You Should Bring When You Get Your COVID-19 Vaccine

1. A Face Mask

It's been a mainstay in your life since last March or so, and a face mask is a must to enter the pharmacy or facility that's administering your shot. Be sure to wear it so you can keep your appointment—as well as yourself and those around you safer, of course. We love these lightweight options as well as this $15 one from Amazon.

ililily Cotton Double Layer Patterned Face Mask Washable Filter Lining Shield , White
($18.99 save 71%)
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2. Hand Sanitizer

Another MVP of pandemic times, hand sanitizer, will come in handy if you need to touch any door handles or other high-touch shared items on the way to get your shot.

The Honest Company Hand Sanitizer Spray - 2 fl oz
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3. A Comfortable Tank Top

To allow for easy arm access, consider wearing a tank top to your vaccine shot appointment. A comfy workout tank like this can play double duty as your shot "suit" and your apparel to tackle your first post-vaccine sweat session when you're feeling up to it. (Our friends at SHAPE will coach you through everything you need to know about working out after your shot.)

ASICS Women's Loose Strappy Tank Training Apparel
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4. A Water Bottle

Hydration is clutch before and after your shot, doctors and dietitians explain. Drinking enough H2O may help make the post-shot symptoms less severe—and will certainly help you make strides toward your daily water intake goal. Keep a water pitcher or bottle within reach a couple days before and after your appointment.

CamelBak Chute Mag BPA Free Water Bottle 25 oz, Charcoal
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5. A Book to Pass the Time

After you receive your shot, you'll be asked to wait 15 minutes for monitoring to ensure you don't have a (very rare) allergic reaction to the vaccine. Pack a book—we're partial to something inspiring and positive to set the tone for brighter days to come—so you can make the most of those minutes and sneak in some self-care.

After the Rain: Gentle Reminders for Healing, Courage, and Self-Love
($19.95 save 34%)
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6. A Quick, Mess-Free and Healthy Snack

If your vaccine appointment requires some travel time, there's a line to get your dose or you could simply use to refuel during that 15-minute wait period, pack a mess-free snack. A protein bar is a great option since you can nosh on while holding the package rather than grabbing with your hands, and it's easy to slip under your mask.

Mezcla Vegan Plant Protein Bars
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7. A Vaccine Card Protector

Since you'll now have a vaccine card, you'll want to protect your card for future travels, discounts and verification purposes. It's best not to laminate it; instead, slide it inside a clear protective case.

CDC Vaccination Card Protector
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8. Over-the-Counter Pain Medicine

A sore arm and achiness are two of the most common post-vaccination symptoms, per the CDC. While not everyone experiences symptoms, it can be wise to stock up on some pain-reliever medication just in case. While it's not recommended that you take these before your shot, most doctors will sign off on you using a pain-reliever after if needed. (Double check with yours or your administering pharmacist just in case.)

Tylenol Extra Strength Pain Reliever and Fever Reducer Caplets - Acetaminophen
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