16 Feb Questions and Answers: Your Guide to the COVID-19 Vaccine
Did you know that more than eight out of ten Americans said they would take the COVID-19 vaccine in a recent poll?
In the same study, 40% of respondents said they would take the vaccine as soon as it is available, while another 44% would rather wait to get it.
The first COVID-19 vaccines rolled out in December 2020. Since then, we’ve all had many questions about how the vaccine works, who will get it first, are there side effects, and more.
Q: How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?
The COVID-19 vaccine works similarly to many other vaccines you may have had in the past.
Vaccines work to allow our body to create antibodies, and these antibodies fight against the disease.
Initial trials of the COVID-19 vaccine show that it is 94 percent effective against preventing the COVID-19 disease. However, we are still learning how strong and how long this immunity is.
Additionally, many of you may know that there are different variations or mutations of the COVID-19 virus. At this point in time, the COVID-19 vaccine is effective against those different mutations that have been discovered.
Q: Is the COVID Vaccine actually an approved vaccine by the FDA?
The FDA has authorized the emergency use of the COVID-19 vaccine. Here’s what we know:
- Pfizer and Moderna are two manufacturers of the COVID-19 vaccine,
- Both vaccines from both companies must be administered in two separate doses
- Each vaccine had clinical trials with over 44,000 recipients
- No serious safety concerns arose from any clinical trials
Like most other vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccine has some typical reactions / side-effects, all of which are normal and mild, such as:
- local site reactions (rashes, bumps, aches)
But this is a good sign, and the COVID-19 vaccine is showing great results.
Q: I’ve already had COVID-19; should I still get the vaccine?
Yes.Due to the severe risks we know are associated with COVID-19, and knowing that there have been cases of re-infection of COVID-19, people who have already contracted COVID-19 are still advised to get the vaccine.
We are still learning about COVID-19, and there will be a lot of facts related to natural immunity — when you’ve had the disease and cannot contract it again — as well as vaccine immunity.
Q: Do I still need to wear a mask after getting the vaccine?
Yes.The COVID-19 vaccine is meant to be one method of preventing the spread of the disease. Having the vaccine does not mean you can’t still be a carrier of the virus.
Vaccines are not silver bullets. And if you receive the vaccine, you should continue to exercise caution and persist in all preventative measures, such as
- Frequent and thorough handwashing
- Wearing protective masks when in public
- Social distancing
Q: Where can I get the vaccine?
The COVID-19 vaccine has been initially distributed to hospitals and clinics throughout the United States, as well as globally. The CDC is working with pharmacies to offer the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s recommended that you check with your local provider to confirm that they are administering the vaccine and that you qualify at this time.
Q: What can I do to protect myself until the COVID-19 vaccine is available?
The vaccine became available in mid-December to high-risk populations first. This included our front-line healthcare workers, essential workers, those with underlying conditions, and those older than 65. If you do not fall into one of those groups, it may be a few months until you can receive a COVID-19 vaccine.According to the CDC, the best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is to cover your nose and mouth with a mask when near other people, avoid close contact with anyone who is sick, keep six feet of distance between yourself and others, avoid crowds, and wash your hands often.