January 25, 2021
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.
MDLIVE’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Cindy Zelis, sat down to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. Once you’ve watched this video, you’ll have a much better idea of what to expect when you’re ready to get the vaccine yourself.
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 to fight against the disease. Initial trials of the COVID-19 vaccine do show that it is effective against preventing the COVID-19 disease. In fact, a recent study by the New England Journal of Medicine shows that the COVID-19 vaccines are 94% effective. 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.
So, the FDA has authorized the emergency use of the COVID-19 vaccine. At this point in time, there are two manufacturers of the COVID-19 vaccine, Pfizer and Moderna. These are both two-dose vaccines. Each of them had clinical trials with over 44,000 recipients, and none of them had serious safety concerns. Now the vaccine is very similar to other vaccines that have had some typical reactions of those with normal immunizations, such as local site reactions or mild systemic complaints such as fatigue, nausea, and headache. But this is a good sign, and the COVID-19 vaccine is showing great results.
Yes. Due to the many severe risks that we know are associated with the COVID-19 disease and knowing that there have been cases of re-infection of COVID-19, people who have had the COVID-19 disease may be advised to get the vaccine. Now we are still learning a lot about COVID-19, and there will be a lot of facts related to natural immunity (which is when you’ve had the disease) as well as vaccine immunity. By working together with the CDC, with the manufacturers of these vaccines, and all of us in healthcare that are fighting against this COVID-19 pandemic – we will win together.
Yes. The vaccine is meant to be one method of preventing you from getting the disease. However, as we mentioned, we are still learning much about COVID-19. Having the vaccine also does not prevent you from being a carrier of the virus. Vaccines are not the silver bullet. You should do all that we have been doing during this pandemic to protect yourself. Things that are important. Handwashing, wearing masks, and social distancing. Continue these best practices that we all have been doing during this COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
The vaccine did become available in mid-December to high-risk populations first. This includes our front-line healthcare workers, essential workers, those with underlying conditions, and those greater 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.
According to the CDC, It’s important to remember that all vaccines must follow rigorous protocols before becoming publically available, and that includes the COVID-19 vaccine. So far, the public health benefits are high, and safety concerns have been low. And remember, when it comes to making decisions about vaccinations or other preventative treatment, it’s best if they’re determined between you and your provider.
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