If you're wondering what to expect after getting a COVID-19 vaccine dose, Canada has advice on how you can make it a comfortable experience and what you should do once you get one.

Dr. Theresa Tam reiterated her guidance on May 12 about what COVID-19 restrictions look like once you've had your first or second dose, and the government also has a full page of how best to go about handling your appointment and aftercare.

What can you do while getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

If you're afraid of needles or worried about feeling pain and discomfort when getting a dose, the federal government has a couple of techniques you can use to make the experience more comfortable.

You can wear a short-sleeved or loose-fitting top so there's easy access to your arm, sit upright in the chair, relax your arm by letting it feel loose, breathe deeply, and read, listen to music or have a conversation with someone to distract yourself.

Canada also recommends telling the person who's administering the vaccine dose if you feel dizzy or lightheaded before or while you're receiving your dose.

What should you do after you get a vaccine dose?

The government says it's normal to have temporary side effects after getting a vaccine and that they can last for a few hours or even a few days.

At the injection site, you might experience redness, soreness and swelling, or get flu-like symptoms including chills, fatigue, joint pain, headache, mild fever and muscle aches.

According to the government, you can take medicine after you get a dose to help with any pain you have or to lower a fever if you have one. However, you should ask your health care provider for what they recommend to manage short-term side effects.

Other things you can do to care for yourself after getting a vaccine include applying a cool, wet washcloth over the injection site, exercising the arm where you got the injection and drinking lots of fluids.

Canada says to call 911 immediately if you develop any serious symptoms or side effects.

What can you do once you've received a vaccine?

Since most COVID-19 vaccines require two doses, Canada is reminding everyone who gets the first shot of a two-dose vaccine — the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, for instance — to return for their second dose when it's time to do so.

Currently, Canada's advice on what you can do once you've received a dose is to keep following public health measures including physical distancing, washing your hands and wearing masks.

On Wednesday, May 12, Tam said in a statement that you should continue to stay home or self-isolate if you have symptoms, reduce non-essential activities and outings and avoid non-essential travel — regardless of how many vaccine doses you've had.

Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on the vaccines and can answer any questions you may have. Click here for more information.