Coronavirus (COVID-19): What You Need to Know… Learn More

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

March 2021

As the COVID-19 vaccine is made available to the public, Alomere Health wants to answer your questions and concerns.

Q: If I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine?

A: Yes. While natural immunity after getting sick from COVID-19 is present, it is unknown how long this lasts, and how good it is. Although rare, cases of people getting COVID-19 a second time have occurred. The chance for re-infection and the threat of new strains of COVID-19 make getting vaccinated despite previous infection an important step in prevention.

Q: What are the short term and long term side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?

A: Personally speaking, the short-term effects of the vaccine were a sore arm for 3-4 days after shot one, very mild fatigue, and no other side effects. After injection number 2, I had less arm pain but felt slightly fatigued for less than 24 hours. I have not felt any other short-term side effects from being vaccinated.

The long-term side effects remain to be seen. It is a new vaccine, but the science behind the creation of this new vaccine is well documented. Unfortunately, the naysayers are hard at work attempting to debunk the science. As it is with most vaccinations, no one truly “wants” the shot, but nobody wants to contract COVID either.

As to long-term, we need herd immunity to stop the pandemic, the negative physical and mental effects of isolation, and loss of life. It is the only way we will get back to something we used to call normal including personal freedoms, strain on the healthcare system including the workers, and the economy.

Q: How long does my immunity last after getting the COVID-19 vaccine?

A: At this time, we do not have a definitive answer for how long immunity from the vaccine will last. As this vaccine is relatively new, we are still analyzing the data to determine the length of immunity. It is possible that you may need a booster of the COVID-19 vaccine in the future, similar to tetanus. As more people are vaccinated against COVID-19, the CDC and vaccine manufacturers continue gather information on the length of immunity and constantly reviewing huge amounts of data on how long it will last.

What we do know, is the immunity from the vaccine is safer than the “natural immunity” you would get from contracting the virus. COVID-19 can cause severe illness and there’s no way to know how your body will react or what the long term effects of contracting COVID-19 will be. The vaccines, in addition to masks and social distancing, are the safest way to prevent yourself and your loved ones from getting sick.

Q: Can I trust these vaccines? Weren’t they rushed into production?

A: Because of worldwide cooperation and massive governmental funding, the development/approval/manufacturing process for the COVID-19 vaccines have been fast tracked without any loss of oversight. Before FDA approval, each vaccine goes through rigorous clinic trial phases involving tens of thousands of volunteers to measure safety and efficacy. The great news is these vaccines are incredibly safe and effective so you can be confident you and your loved ones are only in danger of NOT receiving the vaccine.  (https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/basics/test-approve.html)

Q: Will the COVID-19 vaccine change my DNA?

A: The recent mRNA vaccines do not change or even interact with your DNA in any way. The vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. Instead, the vaccine works with your body’s natural defenses teaching our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19.   (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/facts.html)

Q: Will the COVID-19 vaccine change my DNA?

A: The recent mRNA vaccines do not change or even interact with your DNA in any way. The vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. Instead, the vaccine works with your body’s natural defenses teaching our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19.   (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/facts.html)

Q: What happens if lots of people decide to NOT get the COVID-19 vaccine?

A: Experts are shooting for 80% of the population vaccinated in an effort to achieve “herd immunity.” When a large portion of a community (the herd) becomes immune to the disease, it is very difficult for the virus to spread. People who have recovered from COVID-19 do have a natural immunity, but experts say that may only last for 3 months while vaccinated immunity lasts much longer. Even though you may not be worried about getting sick yourself, getting vaccinated is a kindness you do for your family, friends, and neighbors.  (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/keythingstoknow.html)

Q: Is there a tracking device in the COVID-19 vaccine?

A: There is no tracking device in the vaccine. The CDC has created a robust system for managing the millions and millions of vaccine doses this year for Americans. It is an unprecedented logistics and coordination effort to ensure a successful vaccine allocation, distribution, administration, monitoring, and reporting. This does involve technology but none of it is in the vaccine. (https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/reporting/overview/IT-systems.html)

Q: Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

A: None of the current vaccines contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. For some, the vaccine may cause symptoms such as fever, chills, headache, arm soreness, or fatigue—especially after the second dose. This is a sign the vaccination is working. If you’ve ever had a tetanus shot, the symptoms are very similar. These side effects last only a day or two as compared to the very serious effects or death caused by the COVID-19 disease.   (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/facts.html)

Q: Do the first two vaccines protect me from the COVID-19 variants?

A: Research is showing the first three vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, J&J) are still effective against the current evolving strains of the virus. Because the virus is constantly mutating, experts suggest Americans may need a yearly booster shot just like the common flu vaccine. If the world community can get immunized quickly, we have a better chance of stamping this virus out before it gets an opportunity to evolve more. (https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/17/health/pfizer-vaccine-south-africa-variant/index.html)

Q: Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

A: For breastfeeding individuals:

The ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) recommends COVID-19 vaccines be offered to lactating individuals. While lactating individuals were not included in most clinical trials, COVID-19 vaccines should not be withheld from lactating individuals who otherwise meet criteria for vaccination. Theoretical concerns regarding the safety of vaccinating lactating individuals do not outweigh the potential benefits of receiving the vaccine. There is no need to avoid initiation or discontinue breastfeeding in patients who receive a COVID-19 vaccine

A: For pregnant individuals:

ACOG recommends that COVID-19 vaccines should not be withheld from pregnant individuals. While safety data on the use of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnancy are limited, there are also no data to indicate that the vaccines should be contraindicated, and no safety signals were generated from DART studies for the Pfizer-BioNtech, Moderna, and Janssen COVID-19 vaccines. Therefore, in the interest of patient autonomy, ACOG recommends that pregnant individuals be free to make their own decision regarding COVID-19 vaccination.

https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/practice-advisory/articles/2020/12/vaccinating-pregnant-and-lactating-patients-against-covid-19

Q: Will I still need to wear a mask after getting the COVID-19 vaccine?

A: We’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19, but based on what we know right now, people who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic.

The CDC is now saying fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html

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