FAQ COVID-19 vaccine (2020-12-27)


How effective is this vaccine? Is it safe?

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are mRNA Vaccines. These do not contain live viruses and they do not enter the nucleus of your cells and therefore cannot alter your human DNA. As a result, mRNA vaccine cannot cause any genetic changes and there is no risk that you could develop the virus from the vaccine. Over 40,000 people were enrolled in the Pfizer vaccine trial and 30,000 people in the Moderna trial. Both vaccines were shown to protect 95% of people taking the vaccine. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccine offer the same level of protection against COVID as the measles vaccine does against measles.

I am pregnant or currently breastfeeding. Should I get vaccinated?

Data are not yet available to assess the impact on pregnant and lactating women. American College of Obstetric and Gynecology has come out with a statement that receiving the vaccine should be based on your risk factors for severe disease, your exposure/priority level, and how common the disease is in your community. ACOG recommends that COVID-19 vaccine should not be withheld from pregnant or lactating individuals who meet the criteria for vaccination based on their recommended priority group. Pregnant and lactating women were not included in the initial vaccination studies so no information is directly available.

How many of the COVID-19 vaccines will I need?

Currently, all but one of the COVID-19 vaccines in Phase 3 clinical trials in the United States requires two doses to be effective.

Will there be any side effects from the COVID-19 Vaccine?

The FDA has reported that the most common COVID-19 vaccine side effects include pain at injection site, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, fever, injection site swelling, injections site redness, nausea, feeling unwell, and swollen lymph nodes. These side effects are reported to be short-lived and resolve without complications.

Who should get vaccinated against COVID-19 infection?

It is recommended for everyone ages 16 and older. Currently, supplies are limited. The CDC has identified healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities as first priority. As availability increases, vaccines will be offered to others.

Who should not get vaccinated?

Anyone who has a history of a severe allergic reaction to any component of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Do I need to get a COVID-19 vaccine if I have already tested positive for COVID-19 and recovered?

There is not enough information currently available to say if or for how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again. This is called natural immunity. Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long but more studies are needed to better understand this. Until we have more information, the CDC does not have a specific recommendation on whether or not people who had COVID-19 should receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Do I need to wear a mask and avoid close contact with others if I have received 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccine provides before deciding to change the recommendations on steps everyone should take to slow the spread of the virus.

Why would a vaccine be needed if I can do other things, like social distancing and wearing masks, to prevent the virus that causes COVID-19 from spreading?

Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools available. Vaccines work with your immune system so your body will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. Other steps, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask and staying at least 6 feet away from others, help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following the CDC guidelines will offer the best protection from COVID-19.

How did vaccines get approved so quickly?

There are several reasons why the coronavirus vaccines were developed in record time. First, doing several steps in parallel can save time. The Federal government invested money in the companies so that they would start producing the vaccine before the lengthy development stage was completed. So, this financial reassurance allowed the companies to begin manufacturing the vaccine before clinical trials were completed. Instead of having separate Phase 1, 2 and 3 trials, the phases were sometimes combined (e.g., a Phase 1/2 trial). Second, scientists had already been studying other coronaviruses including SARS and MERS, so they already had some understanding of these types of viruses. Third, this was an international effort with lots of global cooperation.

Another reason trial results are coming in fast is because the trials are being conducted in places with outbreaks of COVID-19, so it doesn’t take as long to reach the number of cases needed to show efficacy. Also, the definition of a case of COVID-19 was not restricted to severe COVID-19, so fewer participants were needed to test efficacy in the trials.

Source: -