What Do I Need to Know About the COVID-19 Vaccine?
When will I have access to the COVID-19 vaccine? Unfortunately, a lot is still unknown about the exact date we will begin vaccinating the public. We know that Kansas is still in Phase 1 of a five-phase prioritization. Right now, all healthcare workers, residents of long-term care facilities and other essential personnel such as first responders are receiving the vaccine. We will communicate via Facebook and through other means as soon as we move into a new phase of the plan.
What is the history of the COVID-19 vaccine? These vaccines have been in the pipeline for almost 20 years. While COVID-19 is new, the virus it comes from is not. Researchers have been working since the SARS outbreak in Asia in 2003 to develop the technology and treatment that makes this unique vaccine. Information gained from the Ebola outbreak in 2014 was also used to develop the technology for the immunization.
Are the vaccines effective? Yes. Both the Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are 95 percent effective. This means they are more effective than the flu shot and similar to the effectiveness of other immunizations such as MMR or hepatitis B. Both Pfizer and Moderna are companies that specialize in creating medication. They have some of the best researchers on staff working for medical solutions.
How do I know the vaccines are safe? Each of these vaccines was tested on a large sample of people and have as much data behind them as the most effective medications or treatment options we use in healthcare. The Pfizer vaccine was tested on a group of 40,000 people and was found to be 95 percent effective in preventing COVID-19. Of those in the 5 percent that might have gotten COVID-19 even after vaccination, symptoms were greatly decreased and none were hospitalized or died.
Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine? No. Neither the Pfizer nor the Moderna vaccines are live cultures and they are not made with the COVID-19 virus. Recipients are not injected with a strain of COVID-19 and should not get the virus as a result of getting the vaccine. Recipients will not test positive for COVID-19 as a result of getting the vaccine. The vaccine contains a piece of RNA information that tells cells to fight COVID-19. To learn more about this technology, read about how the vaccine works on the CDC website.
If I have other allergies, can I have an allergic reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine? People who have food allergies or environmental allergies such as dust or pollen should not be afraid to get the vaccine. Anyone with an allergy to medication may be monitored after administration of the vaccine, but will likely not be affected.
What side effects can I expect? The most significant side effects are pain at the site of the injection or a sore arm, muscle aches, chills or a slight fever. These are mild and similar to the side effects of many vaccines. Recipients may not feel any side effects at all.
We’ve heard several concerns about the vaccine causing infertility. Any statement about this is not based on science. There is no reason to suspect infertility as a side effect of the vaccine.