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What to know about COVID-19 booster vaccines ahead of Thanksgiving gatherings

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 3:08 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 23, 2021 at 7:56 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - More than 1 million Virginians have received their COVID-19 booster since the FDA approved that measure in mid-September.

Now with the holiday season underway and expanded eligibility, health leaders are urging families to get those boosters.

One year ago, the Richmond and Henrico Health District (RHHD) was holding a mass drive-thru COVID-19 testing event at The Diamond after Thanksgiving. This year, people are rolling up their sleeves to get the COVID-19 booster shot.

“The vaccine continues to be the safest way to protect ourselves and our loved one,” said RHHD Nurse Manager Amy Popovich.

The Richmond and Henrico Health District is hoping for many folks to walk in to get that booster vaccine. However, health professionals are giving a slight warning if you do plan on getting it before gathering with family this week.

“We’re seeing folks have those sore arms the next day, sometimes some headaches, fatigue, muscle aches and chills,” Popovich said. “So, if you are experiencing those after getting the booster, go ahead - you can use Tylenol, ibuprofen to make them feel a little bit better. Ideally, plan on laying low the day after you get the booster.”

Laying low may not be possible if you are stuck in the kitchen on Thursday cooking up a feast. While Popovich encourages folks to get that booster as soon as possible, there are other options to stay safe.

“Even if you don’t show any symptoms or haven’t been around anyone, it’s always a good idea to get tested, particularly if you’re going to be in close contact with family who may be more vulnerable or who may be too young yet to be eligible for the vaccine,” she said.

If you do get a booster, it becomes fully effective in roughly two weeks.

The clinic at the Arthur Ashe Center is open through 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, before it closes for the holiday weekend.

Meanwhile, the Chesterfield Health District is offering boosters at its clinic in the Rockwood Shopping Center through Wednesday evening. It will also be closed this holiday weekend.

For more information on vaccine events with RHHD, click here.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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