Yavapai Health Services answers questions about COVID vaccine
As the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines continues many people still have questions about the available vaccines. Health officials at Yavapai County Community Health Services have provided the following answers to some of the most common questions they have received.
If someone has had reactions to flu vaccines in the past, is it safe to get a COVID vaccine?
If you have had serious reactions to other vaccines, you can still get a coronavirus vaccination, but you will be monitored for a longer time after receiving it. Generally, 30 minutes rather than the standard 15 minutes.
Can you still get COVID after the first vaccine dose?
The short answer is yes, but not as often or as easily as before that first dose. You can still get COVID until you’ve had both doses, so you must keep wearing a mask. The CDC says that flu activity remains lower than usual for this time of year. That’s probably due to people wearing masks, social distancing and washing their hands often.
What’s in the vaccine?
While there have been a small number of allergic reactions to the Pfizer vaccine, there is nothing resembling penicillin in either vaccine. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use a similar, new technology to induce immunity, so people rightly want to know what’s in them. There are small amounts of what’s called messenger or mRNA. That’s the genetic blueprint the virus uses to make the spike protein that helps corona infect cells and will stimulate your immunity.
There is no coronavirus in the vaccine. The other component is tiny oily nanoparticles that surround and protect the mRNA, which otherwise would break down very quickly in the body. No preservatives or anything else until they’re mixed with sterile saline right before being injected.
The government is expecting to release all of the vaccine — not holding back anymore for round 2. If you get your first dose — but for some reason, you can’t get your second — what happens then? Do you have to wait a period of time before getting another round 1?
The studies with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines looked at giving the second dose three to four weeks after the first, so we don’t really know how the effectiveness might change if you wait much longer than that.
The World Health Organization says you shouldn’t wait more than six weeks between doses, but the CDC says if there is a delay, there is no need to repeat the first dose. There are other vaccines in the pipeline that could be approved in the next few months which only require one shot.
What if you had COVID and didn’t know it and now you have antibodies? Should I still get the vaccine and is it safe?
If you had a mild or asymptomatic COVID case, then you will likely have developed antibodies to the coronavirus. That should protect you for a while, experts say. Don’t count on more than 90 days, though. So, you don’t need a shot right away, but you still will need one.
What if I have COVID-19 symptoms, should wait to get the vaccine?
If you have had COVID symptoms the CDC says wait until all your symptoms are gone before getting a shot. It is recommended to wait 90-days, because people who get it too soon have been getting quite sick.
When my family is all vaccinated, will we be able to be with each others without masks, and will it be safe to be with our small grandchildren?
It isn’t known yet whether getting fully vaccinated will prevent you from getting infected and passing the virus on to someone else. In the meantime, even if you get vaccinated, you should keep physical distance and wear masks when you’re around others who have not been vaccinated.
Information provided by Health officials at Yavapai County Community Health Services.
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