JTJ Restaurants helped more than 150 of its staff sign up for COVID-19 vaccinations, including Taziki's employee Mark Young, pictured here at The Pharmacy at Wellington pop-up vaccine clinic on March 17.

This is it, folks. Time to roll up your sleeves.

Gov. Hutchinson announced today that all Arkansans ages 16 and older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, effective immediately.

If tracking down a vaccine seems daunting, never fear. The Arkansas Department of Health created a map of vaccination locations, complete with a full breakdown of counties, cities, clinics, phone numbers and websites. All you have to do is schedule an appointment. 

Click here to see the ADH COVID-19 vaccination map.

Ok, now that you're scheduled, let's run through a few things to remember before you get your shot.

 

At your appointment:

  • Bring your ID. (Your provider may also ask you to bring an insurance card.)
  • Wear a mask.
  • Wear sleeves that are easily accessible — i.e. tank tops, short sleeves or the stylish cold shoulder route a la Dolly Parton.
  • Hold on to the vaccination card they give you. You'll need it for the next dose.
  • Stick around for at least 15 minutes to make sure you don't have a reaction to the vaccine.

 

Common side effects:

At the injection site - pain, redness, swelling

To reduce discomfort, apply a cool, wet washcloth to the area or use/exercise your arm.

 

Throughout the body - tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, nausea

To reduce discomfort, drink plenty of fluids and dress in lightweight clothing.

 

Many report stronger side effects after their second dose, but that's a good sign. It means your body is taking the "threat" seriously and building protection against the virus. It does not mean the shot gave you COVID-19. These vaccines do not contain live strains of the virus. See more myths and FAQs on how the vaccine works here.

Side effects should go away within a few days, but contact your doctor if:

  • redness or tenderness where you got the shot gets worse after 24 hours
  • you're worried about side effects or they don't seem to be going away after a few days

 

A few reminders from the CDC: 

  • No, you're not fully vaccinated until two weeks after your final shot (aka the second shot of Pfizer or Moderna, or single dose of Johnson & Johnson). It takes a bit for your body to adjust and become fully protected, so keep masking up in the meantime.
  • Yes, you can still get COVID-19 once you're fully vaccinated. The vaccine's job is to protect against serious illness and death, but it's still possible to contract the virus and experience symptoms.
  • Yes, you should still get vaccinated even if you're low-risk or if you've had COVID-19, especially as new, potentially more dangerous variants are discovered.
  • Yes, you're allowed to lift some restrictions once fully vaccinated, but no, it's not a free-for-all just yet. Click here for a full breakdown of CDC guidelines on how to live your best vaccinated life.

 

One last note: If you're one of the many who feel a twinge of guilt at getting a vaccine before someone else, experts say to take a deep breath and let it go. As an eligible adult, a shot in your arm not only protects you, but everyone around you and everyone around them. Do your part, get your shot and help others get theirs, too.