COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ

Good News!

  • 93% of people age 65 and up in the US are vaccinated! This has led to rapid decrease in sickness and death in that age group from Covid-19.
  • 60% of people ages 18-64 in the US have been vaccinated! This has led to decrease in community transmission and hospitalizations.
  • The vaccines protect against Covid-19 and also ‘Long Covid,’ the long-term illnesses people can have even after only mild symptoms from the initial infection.
  • The 3 available vaccines still protect from the twice-as-contagious Delta variant of Covid-19 – which is less of an issue in California because of high vaccination rates.
  • A resource from Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/coronavirus-covid-19/vaccine-tracker
  • 3rd vaccines now available for qualifying immunocompromised people. Please visit myturn.ca.gov to make an appointment.
  • Boosters: Boosters will be available in the near future. Please keep up to date on socoemergency.org, cdc.gov and myturn.ca.gov

How can I get a Covid-19 vaccine?

What is a vaccine?

  • A vaccine is a kind of medication that helps your immune system recognize a specific microbe that gets into your body and destroy it before it can cause an infection.
  • Vaccines train our bodies to fight viruses and bacteria, without giving us the illness.

Which vaccine should I get?

  • All 3 vaccines are nearly 100% effective against death and severe illness with Covid-19. The mRNA vaccines require two doses, so if you can only make one appointment, get the J&J.

Was the vaccine rushed?

  • No. Quick work by scientists, more money invested more quickly than any previous vaccine, and many volunteers for the original trials, allowed for rapid development and full safety testing.

Are the vaccines safe?

  • 75,000 people volunteered to test the first two vaccines, and hundreds of millions of doses have been given safely in the US – 54% of our population has had at least one dose of vaccines and 46% are fully protected (as of June 2021). All vaccines continue to be watched closely, and any adverse events are being tracked and researched. The pauses in administering vaccines we’ve seen to ensure safety have shown the system works as it should.

 

What might I feel when I get the vaccine?

  • Common side effects are related to the body’s immune response to the vaccine. These symptoms include: injection site discomfort (84%), fatigue (62%) headache (55%), muscle pain (38%), chills (31%), join pain (23%), fever (14%). 
  • Anxiety is the most common reason for symptoms at vaccine clinics and is normal! Remember to eat and hydrate before you get your vaccine, and take slow belly breaths if you feel worried.
  • Link to CDC What to expect after the COVID-19 Vaccine
  • V-safe – mobile app used for immediate reporting of vaccine side effects.

Is it possible to get infected with the virus after vaccination?

  • A small percentage of people will get mild Covid-19 symptoms if exposed after full vaccination, but the amount of virus in the noses of those people is very low, so it is very unlikely they can pass it on to others.

What about pregnancy?

  • Vaccines are recommended for pregnant people, and have been shown to protect both parent and baby, since Covid-19 infection is very dangerous particularly during and right after birth.

What about children?

  • Children as young as 12 are eligible and should be vaccinated.

How long will the vaccine provide protection?

  • Based on the immune response to the vaccines (very good!) and virus variant rate, the vaccine will likely be effective for 1-3 years before a booster is needed.

Is this vaccine mandatory?

  • Federal rules allow businesses to require vaccinations, and some likely will require vaccination to participate in activities that involve people close to each other.

What if I already had COVID-19 through a natural infection?

  • People who have had COVID-19 should get the vaccine since immune response from natural COVID-19 is variable – vaccine immunity is better tested and in most cases more effective.

 

What if I have an underlying medical condition or immune deficiency?

  • Vaccination is highly recommended for people with medical conditions such as cancer, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, heart disease, immune deficiencies, and kidney disease.
  • The vaccine trials included participants with a range of health conditions, ages, and demographics in the rigorous phase 3 trials and did not show a difference in safety.
  • If you have HIV that isn’t under control with medications, or are undergoing cancer treatment, your immune system may not fully respond to the vaccines, and studies are ongoing to see whether a 3rd dose may be helpful.

 

What is an mRNA vaccine?

  • mRNA is a guide for making proteins, not DNA or RNA, and falls apart and is deleted quickly. The vaccines contain NO virus, they contain copies of instructions to make the “spikes” on the outside of the coronavirus. The spike is the ‘key’ that the virus uses to get into our cells.
  • When we get the vaccine in our arm, our cells assemble the spike proteins, not the whole virus.
  • The immune system cells make antibodies and teach our B and T cells to recognize the spikes, so when SARS-CoV2 comes along, our immune system is prepared and will protect us.
  • New York Times article summarizing how Covid-19 vaccines work: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/health/how-covid-19-vaccines-work.html

Are there vitamins that can protect me from the virus, or help me fight it off?

  • So far, studies worldwide on Vitamin C (including IV), Zinc, and vitamin A, and others have shown no good effect. But we do know high doses of zinc and A can cause liver damage and other problems. Eating a balanced diet with a variety of whole fresh fruits, vegetables, beans, grains, nuts and seeds is your best bet for a healthy immune system.
  • No herbs have been shown to help prevent or treat Covid-19 unfortunately, but many studies are ongoing.
  • People with low levels of vitamin D have a harder time with the virus and are more likely to get sick, so making sure your levels are adequate likely helps, but high doses without a deficiency do not help treat Covid-19, and can lead to kidney stones from elevated calcium levels.

 

MORE VACCINE FACTS

  • The mRNA vaccines do not cross into the part of any cell that holds DNA (nucleus) and cannot be incorporated into a human genetic material. No Vaccine, including the COVID-19 vaccines, can alter human DNA.
  • You cannot get COVID-19 from any of the vaccines.  Only the genetic blueprint for one tiny part of the COVID-19 was used to develop the vaccines. It is not possible to become infected with the virus from this material.
  • mRNA vaccines do not use fetal tissue for development.
  • No Vaccines cause infertility or sterility, including COVID-19 vaccines. In fact, many people became pregnant during the first trials and even more have become pregnant since– which showed the vaccines are safe during pregnancy.
  • No vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines, can track people or gather personal information. Vaccine microchips and/or Nano transducers in the brain do not exist.
  • The vaccines do not contain eggs, preservatives or latex Link to full Pfizer Vaccine ingredients

(Updated 8/24/2021)

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