Vaccine FAQ

Vaccine FAQ

How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?

COVID-19 vaccines help our bodies develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 without us actually contracting the virus. Different types of vaccines work in different ways to offer protection, but all types help the body create a supply of “memory” T-lymphocytes as well as B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight that virus in the future. For more information on how vaccines work, visit CDC.gov.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?

The COVID-19 vaccine is being held to the same rigorous safety and effectiveness standard as all other types of vaccines in the United States. The only COVID-19 vaccines the FDA will make available for use in the United States (by approval or emergency use authorization) are those that meet these standards.

Are there differences in the vaccine Pfizer vs Moderna?

Both vaccines were developed using an mRNA platform. A method that has been development since the SARs and MERs epidemics years ago. They are not live viral vaccines. The major difference between the Pizer and Moderna vaccine is the cold chain storage. Pfizer requires extreme cold and potency is questionable if out of the cold beyond twelve hours. With respect to the safety profile of the Pfizer vaccine, the profile was found to be favorable.

How many doses of the vaccine will I need to take?

There are two doses required for the vaccine. All but one of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in Phase 3 clinical trials in the United States use two shots. The first shot starts building protection. A second shot, a few weeks later, is needed to get the most protection the vaccine has to offer.

Do I have to take both doses?

Absolutely. The data supports two doses (21 days apart) as the most effective delivery of the vaccine. It is critically important that anyone who receives the first dose is 100% committed to receiving a second dose. We will work with each employee to ensure you have access to both doses.

What are the side effects of the vaccine?

No serious or life-threatening side effects have been reported with either of the vaccines in initial studies. All side effects have been mild to moderate and short-lived after receiving the vaccine - similar to other vaccination side effects. An exception may be for those who have had serious allergic reactions to vaccines/medications in the past. However, the most common side effects are:  

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches/joint pain
  • Fever

Is Bell’s Palsy, facial paralysis, a side effect of the COVID-19 Vaccine?

There is no data that links Bell’s Palsy being a side effect of the vaccine. There were seven clinical trial participants that experience facial paralysis. However, this quantity is no higher than the number of people who experience facial paralysis in the general population without receiving the vaccine.

What should I do if I experience side effects after receiving the vaccine?

If you experience any serious adverse side effect after receiving the vaccine, call 911 or Employee Health at 229-312-2380 or the CDC through the v-safe app, vsafe.cdc.gov.

Will I contract COVID-19 from the COVID-19 vaccine?

The data says no. COVID-19 vaccines currently in development do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19 but instead use inactive portions of the virus to help teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus. Sometimes vaccinations can cause some symptoms, such as fever, but these symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity. Vaccine development is complex and fascinating – you can learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work at CDC.gov.

If I’m vaccinated, can I stop wearing a mask/PPE at work?

Unfortunately, no. Vaccination does not affect Phoebe’s mask, PPE, or social distancing requirements. There will still be potential risk of transmitting the virus to others. However, once there has been widespread vaccination of the general public (depending upon evidence), mask recommendations may change.

Why would a vaccine be needed if we 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 CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19.

Will the COVID-19 vaccines cause a positive test result on COVID-19 viral tests?

No. Vaccines currently in clinical trials in the United States won’t cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection.

If your body develops an immune response, which is the goal of vaccination, there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests which are used to indicate if you have had a previous infection. Experts are still looking at how the COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results, but there is little concern about creating false positives for current infection tests.

Will I contract COVID-19 from the COVID-19 vaccine?

The data says no. COVID-19 vaccines currently in development do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19 but instead use inactive portions of the virus to help teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus. Sometimes vaccinations can cause some symptoms, such as fever, but these symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity. Vaccine development is complex and fascinating – you can learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work at CDC.gov.

What are antibody tests?

Antibody tests check your blood for antibodies, which may tell you if you had a past infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. Antibodies are proteins that help fight off infections and can provide protection against getting that disease again (immunity). Antibodies are disease specific. For example, measles antibodies will protect you from getting measles if you are exposed to it again, but they won’t protect you from getting mumps if you are exposed to mumps.

Antibody tests should not be used to diagnose a current COVID-19 infection, except in instances in which viral testing is delayed. An antibody test may not show if you have a current COVID-19 infection, because it can take 1–3 weeks after infection for your body to make antibodies.

How do I get a viral COVID-19 test?

A viral test checks fluid or blood samples to find out if you are currently infected with COVID-19. The time it takes to process these tests can vary, so results may not be available for a few days. 

Patients can visit state or local health department websites for the latest information on testing, or you can call your healthcare provider.

I’ve already had COVID-19, should I still get the vaccine?

Yes. Re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, so people are advised to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if they have had COVID-19 before.  However, it is recommended you wait 90 days from last positive test.

At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having had an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person, and unfortunately, some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long.

We won’t know how long immunity lasts until we have experience with the vaccine and more data on how well it works. Both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity are important aspects of COVID-19 that experts are continuing to research, and CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.

Does the vaccine help prevent getting sick with COVID-19?

Yes, that is the vaccine’s core purpose. While many people with COVID-19 only experience mild illness, some suffer from severe illness or may even die. There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you, even if you are not at increased risk of complications. If you get sick, you also may spread the disease to friends, family, and others around you while you are sick. COVID-19 vaccination helps protect you by creating an antibody response without having to experience sickness. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work at CDC.gov.

Do I need to wear a mask and avoid close contact with others if I have received two doses of the vaccine?

Yes. While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to use to help stop this pandemic, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask, washing hands often, and staying at least 6 feet away from others. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision.

What do we know about the COVID-19 variants that are in the UK and not the US? 

Information about the current variants is rapidly emerging. Scientists are working to learn more about how easily it might spread and whether they could cause more severe illness. Currently, there is no evidence that these variants cause more severe illness or increased risk of death.

Do COVID-19 variants that alter the COVID-19 Vaccine effectiveness? 

There is no evidence that the variants are changing the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines. Most experts believe this is unlikely to occur because of the nature of the immune response to the virus.

For more information on COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines, please visit CDC.gov.


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