By Sophia L. Thomas, DNP, FNP-BC, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP
If you have recently received your COVID-19 vaccine, it’s critical that you participate in the v-safe program offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). V-safe is a smartphone-based tool that utilizes text messages and online surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you are vaccinated.
This tool enables you to quickly and effectively notify a health care provider if you have any adverse reactions to the vaccine, enabling customized follow-up care and helping streamline the overall vaccination process across the nation. The v-safe program will also send you reminders when it is time for you to receive the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, ensuring that you don’t miss out on the full benefits of the vaccination.
With the vaccine rollout in the United States happening rapidly, many people are confused about the v-safe program and how to use it. Below, you will find some answers to common questions you might have about using v-safe:
If I don’t have a smartphone, can I still participate in v-safe?
Currently, v-safe can only be accessed using a mobile phone with a touchscreen, text messaging and access to the internet. If you do not have a device with these capabilities, you can still report adverse reactions through the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). If you are experiencing trouble with the VAERS online system, you can call their toll-free information line at 1-800-822-7967.
Is v-safe a mobile application I have to download?
V-safe is a secure tool you access through your smartphone’s web browser. While there is no charge to use the v-safe tool, be mindful of whether your mobile carrier has web access charges.
How long does a v-safe check-in last?
After you register with v-safe, you will receive daily text messages asking you how you are doing during the first week after your COVID-19 vaccination. You will also receive weekly check-in messages for five weeks that will take you roughly five minutes to complete.
What if I have a health problem that I believe is related to the COVID-19 vaccine between v-safe check-ins?
If at any time you experience symptoms or health issues following the COVID-19 vaccination, please contact your health care provider — like a nurse practitioner (NP) — for assistance. After receiving care, please report your reaction using the VAERS system.
Will v-safe provide me with any health advice or guidance based on my symptoms after I return to work?
V-safe will not provide you with medical advice. It is simply a tool that is used to help monitor your progress after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. For health guidance, please consult your NP or other health care provider.
Even after you are vaccinated, it’s important to remain vigilant. Please continue to practice social distancing and wear a mask, and once you are vaccinated, be sure to participate in the v-safe program!