The vaccine is here! This is exciting and great news for healthcare workers who have been on the frontlines of this pandemic for over a year now and for us at home who are excited to be able to get back to normal life. We know you have questions and concerns, and we want to help you get those answered. As always, contact our office with any health concerns or questions.
The first question about the COVID-19 Vaccine that we want to answer is “Is the vaccine safe?.”
Yes. The COVID-19 Vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer have been tested just as rigorously as all other vaccines that are a part of everyone’s normal healthcare. They were able to be expedited with advances in medical science that have been preparing for a pandemic such as this one, global cooperation, and the dedicated hard work of scientists around the world.
There are known side effects of the vaccine that are extremely similar to those you might encounter after your seasonal flu shot. Slight fever, headaches, and site injection soreness could occur. More serious side effects are, of course, possible but extremely unlikely. Those who are at a higher risk of side effects will need to check with their primary care physician before receiving the vaccine as they would before taking any new medication.
The Virginia Department of Health produced a video on why the vaccine is a good step for everyone to take to help us move out of this pandemic as soon as possible and to have questions answered by an expert in vaccinations.
Why should I get the vaccine when herd immunity can protect me?
Scientists don’t know what percentage of the population would need to get vaccinated before herd immunity is actually effective. That means that the more people that get vaccinated, the faster life goes back to normal, and the more lives you save. People with serious underlying health conditions and people who live in remote or medically underserved locations may not be able to get vaccinated. By you getting one or two shots, you could save not only your life and your family’s lives but also people in your community.
I already had COVID-19. I should be immune now, right?
No. If you had COVID-19, you need to wait at least 90 days before getting vaccinated just to make sure that the vaccine won’t react with any of the treatments you received, but everyone should get vaccinated. “Natural immunity” or the immunity your body may develop after being infected with COVID-19 varies from person to person and may not prevent reinfection. There have been cases of people catching COVID-19 more than once, and now there are new strains of COVID-19 that a person could catch as well.
Okay, so I want to get vaccinated. When is it my turn?
Right now, Virginia is currently in phase 1A and 1B. 1A includes healthcare workers and residents, and staff in long-term care facilities. 1B is made up of frontline essential workers, people aged 65+, people aged 16-64 with underlying medical conditions, people living in correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and migrant labor camps. 1C will be the next phase which will consist of the rest of the essential workers who didn’t fall into the other two phases.
To find out when you can get vaccinated, check here: https://vdh.jebbit.com/amkwk6m1?L=Owned+Web&JC=Vaccine
I got my vaccine. Does that mean I don’t have to wear a mask and socially distance anymore?
No. Actually, because of the new COVID-19 variants, it is recommended that everyone wear two masks, one surgical or paper mask under a cloth or reusable mask, to help cut down the possibility of transmission even more.
Scientists and experts don’t want to risk reinfections, asymptomatic spread, and new strain transmission. That means that even when you are vaccinated, you need to continue to follow all CDC safety guidelines to continue to protect yourself and others.
Vaccines can carry heavy, eye-catching headlines meant to grab attention and convey the simplest ideas as fast as possible. The long-story-short is, the COVID-19 vaccine is an excellent preventative measure that can help protect you from COVID-19. The CDC has a full list of ingredients for both vaccines on their site here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/faq.html And our office supports both vaccine variants.
If you come across information that seems concerning or leaves you with questions about getting vaccinated, contact our office and speak to one of our providers. We are here to help keep you and your family happy and healthy!