Covid-19 Vaccines: Everything You Want to Know

Senior receiving Covid-19 vaccine
COVID-19 Vaccine – Your Questions Answered

The coronavirus has had an incredible impact on our society as a whole. All over the world people have been impacted by this deadly virus.

Fortunately, studies have shown that the vaccine created to control the virus can keep you from contracting it, or simply make the symptoms mild to asymptomatic.

 💉 In this article we explain the types of vaccines being administered, who should get vaccinated, where to get vaccinated and what to do after getting your Covid-19 vaccine. 

You Will Learn

Key Things To Know About COVID-19 Vaccines

Are Covid-19 Vaccines Safe?

Covid-19 vaccines have been thoroughly inspected and monitored to make sure they are safe. Currently, millions of people have gotten their vaccine all across the US. So far, the results have been positive.

These vaccines go through a trial period before being released to the public and none of the trials reported serious health concerns.

Covid-19 Vaccine Side Effects

So far, side effects of the Covid-19 vaccine are similar to other common vaccines side effects, such as:

  • Pain or tenderness at the injection site
  • Tiredness
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea and stomach ache

These side effects can happen with a single dose of the vaccine, but in cases where the vaccine requires a second dose, these symptoms are more likely to occur after the second dose is administered. It’s important to call you doctor if your symptoms persist or worsen. [1]FDA – Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine – FACT SHEET FOR RECIPIENTS AND CAREGIVERS [2]FDA – Moderna Vaccine – Common Side Effects [3]FDA – Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine – FACT SHEET FOR RECIPIENTS AND CAREGIVERS

Covid-19 and Anaphylactic Shock

In extremely rare cases, some people have had severe allergic reactions due to the vaccine. This reaction known as Anaphylactic Shock. A study done by the CDC states that between December 14 – 23, 2020, they administered 1,893,360 of the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and reported 21 cases of anaphylactic shock, most within the first 15 minutes of having received the vaccine.[4]CDC – Allergic Reactions Including Anaphylaxis After Receipt of the First Dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine — United States, December 14–23, 2020

Because of this, people must be monitored for approximately 15 -20 minutes after receiving the vaccine and the locations administering the vaccines must have Epinephrine (Epi pens) on hand and should screen patients about their allergies before receiving the injection.

If you have had severe allergic reactions to vaccines before or are allergic to any of the ingredients in the Covid-19 vaccine, you should talk to your doctor to decide what is the best option for you.

How Many People Have Side Effects due to The Vaccine?

Between 10% – 15% of people experience side effects due to the Covid-19 vaccine. The most common side effects reported are pain at the injection site, headache and fatigue.

No serious safety concerns observed; the only Grade 3 adverse event greater than 2% in frequency was fatigue at 3.8% and headache at 2.0%Pfizer and BioNTech
The majority of adverse events were mild or moderate in severity. Grade 3 (severe) events greater than or equal to 2% in frequency after the first dose included injection site pain (2.7%), and after the second dose included fatigue (9.7%), myalgia (8.9%), arthralgia (5.2%), headache (4.5%), pain (4.1%) and erythema/redness at the injection site (2.0%). These solicited adverse events were generally short-lived. Moderna Inc

These side effects aren’t serious and usually go away in a few days. If the vaccine you receive requires a second dose, it is very important you receive it, even if you have had these side effects with the first dose.  You can take acetaminophen for the pain and fever, but it’s always a good idea to consult with your doctor before taking any medication.

Can You Spread Covid with The Vaccine?

Unfortunately, yes. You can spread the virus even after getting vaccinated. No evidence has been found that the vaccines can cause mucosal immunity, so that means that even if you’re vaccinated you could be carrying the virus and can spread it to others. [5]Healthline – You Can Still Spread, Develop COVID-19 After Getting a Vaccine: What to Know

The vaccine will not prevent you from contracting the virus, so it is important to keep your distance from others and wash your hands multiple times a day, especially when you’ve been to a public place.

Will I Be Required to Get Vaccinated for Covid-19 for Work?

Employers can require their employees to get vaccinated to continue working, as their way of making the workspace safe for all employees and clients.

There are exceptions which employers must take into consideration such as allergies, medical conditions or disabilities and religious beliefs.

If you can’t or don’t want to get vaccinated for Covid-19 but your employer requires it, you may need to get a Vaccine Exemption on Medical or Religious grounds or try discussing alternative solutions with your employer such as using protective gear, working in an isolated area or working from home.

Covid-19 Vaccine and Pregnancy

There is a major lack of data when it comes to getting the Covid-19 vaccine while pregnant. Moderna tested their vaccine on rats during and before pregnancy and no safety concerns were reported.

Pfizer ‘s vaccine research of the effects of the vaccine during pregnancy are still ongoing. Getting vaccinated during pregnancy is entirely up to you but you should consult with your doctor before and after receiving the vaccine and keep following safety guidelines to prevent the virus, such as washing your hands, using a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others and avoid crowds of people.

🤔 Is it safe for me to get a COVID-19 vaccine if I would like to have a baby one day?

Covid-19 Vaccine and Fertility

During the trials, the loss of fertility was not monitored, but there haven’t been any reports of infertility from anyone who participated in the trials or from the millions who have already received the vaccine.

The theory was that antibodies of the vaccine would attack protein in the placenta, but there is no evidence to support this. Women who participated in the trials have become pregnant after receiving both doses of the vaccine.

Some women even became pregnant during the trials, after receiving just the first dose of the vaccine.

Covid-19 Vaccine for Kids

Children were not included in the original trials because severe complications with the virus tend to happen primarily to adults, and because testing on adults has less regulations than with children, so the vaccine could be administered faster.

Fortunately, clinical trials for a vaccine for children have started, but it will take time to develop because of the challenges with children’s immune systems. Currently, only children 16 years old and up can receive the vaccine.

Can Children Get Pfizer’s Covid-19 Vaccine?

As of today, Pfizer is still in the trial process for testing the Covid-19 vaccine on teens, ages 12-15. Currently, only teens 16 and older can get the Covid-19 vaccine. Pfizer hasn’t said when they believe the vaccine will be ready for children under 16.

How Can I Protect Myself from Getting Covid-19 Until I’m Able to Get the Vaccine?

The best way of protecting yourself from Covid-19 until you’re able to get vaccinated is to keep following safety guidelines to protect yourself, such as:

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Wear a mask in public
  • Keep a distance of at least 6 feet from others
  • Avoid public spaces with poor ventilation
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose before washing your hands

Following these steps is the best way to avoid contracting the virus, according to the CDC.

Natural Immunity VS Vaccine Immunity

Natural immunity occurs when we come into contact with a virus naturally. First we get sick, then our immune system fights the virus and in the process learns how combat and defeat the virus, resulting in immunity.

Vaccine immunity occurs when we inject an antigen that is derived from the virus that were trying to fight. This helps our immune system develop immunity to the virus, without having to suffer the effects of the virus.

Which lasts longer, immunity after getting COVID-19 or protection from COVID-19 vaccines?

Natural immunity against Covid-19 can be dangerous, since you will be contracting the virus in full instead of the small dosage of antigen that the vaccine provides.

Natural immunity varies greatly from person to person. Some people may be able to resist the virus after contracting it for a few years, but others maybe only for a few months. After that period, you will be susceptible to the virus again.

Vaccination is highly recommended, due to it lasting much longer. Experts all agree that vaccine immunization to Covid-19 is the safer option.

Covid-19 Vaccine After Having Covid

It is important to remember that even if you have had Covid before, you can contract it again. Doctors recommend that, even people who have already had the virus, get vaccinated to prevent you from contracting the virus a second time.

If you had Covid before, you must wait at least 90 days if you were treated with convalescent plasma or monoclonal antibodies (ask your health care professional if you’re not sure) before getting the Covid-19 vaccine.

Covid-19 New Variant Symptoms

There are many variants to the Covid-19 virus, but there are 3 principal variants that scientists are keeping their eyes on because they seem to spread quicker and easier than other variants. These 3 are found predominantly in South Africa, Brazil and the UK.

The variant identified by the UK is called B.1.1.7. and has been detected in many countries across the world. This variant is said to increase the risk of death when compared to others, but research is still being done to confirm this. So far, studies suggest this variant is 30 – 70 percent more deadly. The variant identified by South Africa is called B.1.351.

It derived from B.1.1.7, making them similar. And lastly, the variant from Brazil is called P.1. This variant has more mutations than the others which makes it difficult to be recognized by our antibodies. The symptoms of the variants are basically the same as the original Covid-19.

How to Get A Vaccine

Where Can I Get the Covid-19 Vaccine Near Me?

Currently, most states are finishing Phase 1b of the vaccination plan. This means that, in most places, only Healthcare workers, first responders, senior citizens living in long-term health facilities and staff, frontline essential workers and people age 75 and up will be receiving the vaccine.

💭 Phased Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccines

If you believe you are part of Phase 1a / 1b / 1c, would like to request an appointment for vaccination, or if you would like to know which phase your state is currently in, below simply select the state you live in.

Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Connecticut | Delaware | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | Nebraska | Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | North Dakota | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Puerto Rico | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | Washington DC | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming

This will also provide a list of pharmacies and hospitals that are providing vaccinations for Covid-19 near you.

Albertsons | CVS | Costco | Kroger | Publix | Rite Aid | Safeway | Target | Walgreens | Walmart

When Will It Be My Turn to Get the Covid-19 Vaccine?

In the US, the first Covid-19 vaccine was administered on December 14, 2020 and since then approximately 91.7 million vaccines have been distributed across the country. The population was divided into 3 phases to prioritize those more at risk. The phases are as follows:

  • Phase 1a – Healthcare workers and first responders, and for senior citizens living in long-term health facilities and staff.
  • Phase 1b – Frontline essential workers and people age 75 and older.
  • Phase 1c – People between the ages of 65 – 74, people 16 – 64 that have medical or life-threatening conditions that can be fatal with Covid, all other essential workers

Children 15 years old and under are not included in these phases because the vaccine still hasn’t been tested on children. Moderna reports they’re currently starting their trials with children but still don’t know exactly when it will be available, but expect it to be around summertime. Once there are more vaccines and supplies available, many pharmacies plan to make the vaccine available to the public not included in the previous groups.

Can You Choose Which Covid-19 Vaccine to Get?

With the production of different vaccines for Covid-19 on the rise, you might be wondering if you can choose which vaccine to get. Technically, yes, you can choose which vaccine to get by finding out which vaccination venue has the vaccine you are interested in receiving, but doctors recommend not to wait and simply get whichever vaccine is available to you first.

This is optional, though. So, if you feel any particular way towards one of the vaccine options, you may simply decide to wait or visit a different vaccination venue that will be administering the vaccine you would like to receive.

Different Types of Covid-19 Vaccines [Brands]

Currently, only 3 vaccines have been authorized by the FDA. The CDC recommends these 3 types of vaccines because of their effectiveness and safety.

  • Pfizer – BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine
  • Moderna Covid-19 Vaccine
  • Janssen’s Covid-19 vaccine (J&J single-shot)
covid-19 vaccine options
nytimes Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker

In the US, clinical trials for 2 other Covid-19 vaccines started on December 28, 2020. These are:

  • Novavax Covid-19 vaccine
  • AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine

Pfizer VS Moderna Vaccines

Both of these companies are very different, but when it comes to their vaccines, they are quite similar. Both vaccines are approximately 95% effective for virus prevention and were both developed using new technology called mRNA technology. This mRNA technology doesn’t interact or effect your DNA in any way because it never enters the nucleus of the cell.

They also don’t risk causing the virus in a person who received the vaccine because they do not contain the live Covid-19 virus. MRNA requires freezing temperatures for long term storage. Moderna’s vaccine can be kept in a regular freezer and once it thaws it can be kept in refrigerator temperatures for approximately 30 days. Pfizer’s vaccine needs to be kept in a special, extremely cold freezer with a temperature of -94 degrees Fahrenheit and only lasts 5 days in a regular freezer once it’s thawed.

Can Children Get Pfizer’s Covid-19 Vaccine?

Currently, neither Moderna or Pfizer vaccines can be administered to children. Only teens 16 years and older may get vaccinated for Covid. The reason for this is because trials for vaccination of younger children are just starting and not enough information has been released. According to Moderna, they expect the vaccine to be available for children sometime around the summer of this year.

AstraZeneca Vaccine

The AstraZeneca vaccine, also known as the Oxford vaccine, was approved in 50 countries on Monday, Feb 15 2020 for emergency use, but not yet in the US. This vaccine is less expensive than Pfizer’s or Moderna’s, making it more accessible to other countries in need.

This vaccine can be stored in regular refrigerator temperatures, which also makes it convenient for transporting the vaccine. The AstraZeneca vaccine has an efficacy rate of 63.09% and can only be administered to people 18 years old and up. [6]WHO – The Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine: what you need to know

Will the Covid-19 Vaccines be Free or Do I have to Pay?

Covid-19 vaccines are free of charge for people living in the US, although some vaccine providers may charge a vaccine administration fee. This fee can be covered by your public or private insurance, but even if you don’t have insurance and you’re not able to pay, you can not be denied a vaccine.

Vaccine providers will be reimbursed by the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund if you are not able to pay.

Who is Paying for the Covid-19 Vaccines?

The vaccines are being paid for by the United States Federal government and being administered free of charge for people that live in the US.

You may be charged a vaccine administration fee, but that can be covered by your insurance or if you don’t have insurance, the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund will cover the fee.

How to Get the Vaccine Without Insurance

If you don’t have insurance, you don’t have to worry. Federal health officials say you can still get your Covid-19 vaccine, free of charge. When it’s your turn to receive the vaccine, simply go to a vaccination provider and get your vaccine.

Any vaccine administration fee they might charge will be covered by the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund.

How to Get the Covid-19 Vaccine Early

Sometimes a dose of the vaccine may be left over, when everyone on the vaccine provider’s priority list is completed. In this case, they may offer the vaccine to anyone, even those who aren’t high risk patients.

This is because they’d rather administer the vaccines to people before they lose their efficacy, which is only a few hours after being thawed. Your best bet to get the Covid-19 vaccine early is to contact your doctor or vaccination provider frequently to see if they don’t have any vaccines left over from that day.

This is definitely a “right place, right time” kind of option, but it’s the best option if you don’t belong to the priority groups being vaccinated.

What to do After Getting Your Covid-19 Vaccine

How Long Will it Take to Build Immunity After Getting the Covid-19 Vaccine?

After getting your complete dosage of the Covid-19 vaccine, your body will take some time to build immunity. This process usually takes a few weeks, so you will need to continue taking precautions to avoid contracting the virus.

Do I Need to Wear a Mask and Avoid Close Contact with Others if I Have Gotten 2 Doses of the Covid-19 Vaccine?

Yes, you should continue taking every precaution to avoid contracting the virus, even after receiving both doses. It takes our bodies around two to three weeks to develop immunity, and even after this period, you can still contract the virus and spread it.

Precautions such as wearing a mask in public, washing your hands frequently, social distancing and avoiding big crowds should continue, for your own safety and for others.

When Will Covid-19 End?

Fortunately, cases of Covid-19 are slowly starting to go down, so we just might be seeing the beginning of the end, but it’s too early to tell. No matter the outcome, we must understand that we are in this situation together.

We must do everything we can to get this pandemic under control and bring it to an end. It is our responsibility to stay safe and follow the precautions and recommendations from the CDC such as; social distancing, wearing masks, avoiding crowds of people and getting vaccinated if we want Covid-19 to finally end.

References

References
1 FDA – Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine – FACT SHEET FOR RECIPIENTS AND CAREGIVERS
2 FDA – Moderna Vaccine – Common Side Effects
3 FDA – Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine – FACT SHEET FOR RECIPIENTS AND CAREGIVERS
4 CDC – Allergic Reactions Including Anaphylaxis After Receipt of the First Dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine — United States, December 14–23, 2020
5 Healthline – You Can Still Spread, Develop COVID-19 After Getting a Vaccine: What to Know
6 WHO – The Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine: what you need to know
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