FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Please see the resources section for links to places to find a COVID vaccine near you and sign up to be notified when you are eligible for a vaccine in your state.

All of the EUA approved vaccines are injections or a shot. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are two shots. The Pfizer vaccine is given 21 days apart; the Moderna vaccine is given 28 days apart. You are not fully vaccinated until you receive both doses (two shots). If you miss the 21/28-day window, you do NOT need to start all over again.
The Janssen vaccine is a single shot.

Category: General

Yes! These vaccines are effective and have been shown to significantly reduce your risk of getting sick with COVID-19. The risk decreases very quickly. Results from the Pfizer vaccine have shown that within 10 days of receiving the 1st shot, your risk of COVID significantly decreases. This is the same regardless of sex, race, age, or weight.

But with the two-dose vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna), the first dose of the vaccine is only partially effective—you need to get the second dose to be fully protected.

AND: you will still need to continue precautions for awhile longer. No vaccine protects 100% of the time. People will still have to minimize risk by wearing a mask, social distancing and washing hands.

Category: General

No. First, the vaccine immunity takes at least 2–3 weeks after ALL doses. Also, the vaccine is not 100%. You will still need to social distance and wear a mask until we reach herd immunity.

Category: General

Yes!  ALL three approved COVID vaccines have been shown to decrease severe COVID-19 and prevent hospitalization and death from COVID-19.  This is incredibly important for the person vaccinated as well as allowing our health care institutions protected and able to care for everyone.

Category: General

The CDC has recently issued new recommendations for vaccinated individuals. Currently vaccinated people can:
– Visit other vaccinated people indoors without masks or social distancing
– Visit indoors with unvaccinated people from a SINGLE household without masks or physical distancing if the unvaccinated people are at low risk for severe disease
– Skip quarantine and testing if exposed to someone with COVID-19 as long as the vaccinated person is asymptomatic (the vaccinated person should still monitor for symptoms for 14 days).

But: vaccinated people STILL need to take precautions in many scenarios:
– They must wear a mask and physically distance around unvaccinated people who are at an increased risk for severe COVID-19
– They must wear a mask and physically distance around unvaccinated people who have household members who are at an increased risk for severe COVID-19
– And they should wear masks and physically distance when visiting unvaccinated people from multiple households.

Additionally, vaccinated people need to continue basic safety precautions (masking and physically distancing) in public, especially in medium and large-sized crowds, and poorly ventilated public spaces.

Finally, vaccinated people should get tested for COVID-19 if they feel sick.
You can see the full CDC recommendations here: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html

Category: General

This is still being studied, but preliminary data from Pfizer, Moderna and the J&J vaccines looking at asymptomatic transmission of the virus (meaning active virus spreading without the person having symptoms) appears to be significantly decreased in those who are vaccinated.

However scientists and public health officials are still studying this so if you have been fully vaccinated, please follow the CDC guidelines here: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html

Category: General

The clinical trials for the Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen vaccines all indicated that there was no difference in efficacy by age, race, sex or underlying other medical conditions.  It is unclear at this time what the effect of various immunosuppressant medications will be on the vaccines.

It is unclear at this time what the effect of various immunosuppressant medications will be on the vaccine.

Category: General

At this time, we are not entirely sure how long it will last. Please stay tuned and we will update with more information as it comes!

Category: General

This is a really great question and one that many are discussing given vaccine shortages. Currently, it is recommended that you receive BOTH doses of the Pfizer (21 days apart) or Moderna (28 days apart) vaccines. If you miss the 21/28 day windows, you do NOT need to start all over again—just get the second dose as soon as you can. We do not know how this will affect the effectiveness of the vaccinations but will keep updating with recommendations from scientists and public health advocates!

Of course, if you receive the Janssen vaccine it is only one dose.

Category: General

No! In fact, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have shown efficacy after their first dose alone. However, you do not get the full efficacy until you get the second dose—so please make sure to follow-up with your second dose; and always wear a mask, maintain social distancing and wash your hands.

Category: General

This is a great question! Currently people can — and should — receive the vaccine regardless of their prior history of infection.

It is NOT recommended that you need to test for active or prior infection before getting the vacccine

Given that it appears that many people who have had COVID have immunity for at ~90 days, people who have been infected can wait until a 90-day period has passed to receive the vaccine (but they do not have to wait).

If you are actively infected with COVID, you should wait until you have recovered from your acute infection and your quarantine period is over. This is so that we protect those giving the vaccines and others at the sites where vaccinations will be happening.

If you have been exposed to someone who had COVID, you should wait until your quarantine period is over — again to protect those giving the vaccines and others at the sites were vaccinations are happening.

If you have been treated with a monoclonal antibody treatment, you should also wait 90 days from that treatment before getting vaccinated.

Category: General

The federal government is providing the vaccine free of charge to people living in the United States. However, your vaccination provider may bill your insurance company, Medicaid, or Medicare for an administration fee.

Category: General

No-there did not appear to be any negative interactions (remember, the clinical trials ran through flu season, so many participants received both). We do know that getting both the flu and COVID illnesses at the same time appears to be associated with a significantly increased risk of death, so we recommend obtaining BOTH vaccines! But you should space them apart by at least 14 days.

Category: General

Currently it is recommended that you space your COVID vaccine out by 14 days of any other vaccine so potential reactions are not confused between different vaccines.

Category: General

We are so glad that you want to get vaccinated! Please: get whichever one is available to you first. The efficacy and the safety data of all three vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, and Janssen) are very comparable to each other (neither one was “better” than the others). Due to supply and/or logistical issues, one may be available to you before the other.

Many have been concerned because of a perceived lower efficacy of the Janssen vaccine. It is very important to know that the Janssen vaccine clinical trials ran after the Pfizer/Moderna trials did, and in countries with a high prevalence of the new COVID variants. Despite this, the Janssen vaccine efficacy was incredibly good and it still protected against hospitalization and death from COVID. We do not know how the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines would have performed in similar situations, so the vaccine trials are not directly comparable.

The one thing we DO know is that all three vaccines have been shown to be protective against severe COVID or death from COVID, and that the longer we go without vaccinations the more time the virus has to make new variants. So we strongly urge people to get whichever vaccine is available to them first!

Category: General

Currently the vaccine trials only evaluated the efficacy of two doses of their own vaccine. The safety and efficacy was not tested for obtaining doses from different vaccines.

Category: General

No—you do not need to get multiple vaccines. All of the vaccines approved by emergency use authorization (EUA) are effective on their own and currently there are no recommendations that multiple vaccinations are needed.

Category: General

The current CDC recommendations are that you wait 90 days from the time you received either convalescent plasma or monoclonal antibody therapy before receiving any of the three approved COVID vaccines.

Category: General

That is a really good concern. COVID19 has affected certain communities far more than others, and it is really important to ask if those communities have been part of this vaccine development as well as the safety reviews for these vaccines. In addition, we recognize that medicine historically has not treated underrepresented communities equally, and this creates legitimate distrust of the system.

In regards to the COVID-19 vaccine, scientists and advocates from very diverse backgrounds have been part of the leadership of these vaccines as well as reviewing and making guidelines and decisions regarding them. For example, Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, who works for the National Institutes of Health, is an African-American woman who helped develop the Moderna vaccine. The safety monitoring and review boards for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines included scientists, physicians and advocates from diverse backgrounds representing numerous groups from all parts of the country. These hearings were also open to the public so that they could be as transparent as possible.

We fully recognize this may not be enough, but we hope that it gives some measure of comfort knowing that representation has occurred at all levels, from vaccine development through the independent safety reviews. COVID19 has been devastating and these vaccines represent the first real hope we’ve had to combat this pandemic.

Category: General

This is when a person is “hesitant” about receiving the vaccine. This can be due to many factors, such as concern about the safety and development of this specific vaccine, lack of confidence in vaccines as a whole, or a lack of education about vaccination.

This is why it’s important for all of us to talk to each other, discuss concerns, and address them as honestly as possible.

Category: General

This vaccine has been developed very quickly compared to other vaccines. This is due to the urgency of the global pandemic. However, it has been created in a way that allowed it to be safe and to be studied so that people around the world can be confident in taking it

The next step is distribution. Distribution has some challenges, including shipping, storing (some vaccines need to be kept at remarkably cold temperatures!), and administration. The millions of doses that are needed still need to be manufactured.

Finally, there will be people who do not want to receive the vaccine for various reasons — or who do not want to receive it at first but do end up receiving it later. This delay is a barrier in achieving “herd immunity,” and it may take time and patience to reach a level of 70–80% of the population becoming vaccinated

Category: General

Herd immunity occurs when a majority of the population (the “herd”) is vaccinated. When enough people are immune through vaccination, the disease is unable to spread. With nowhere to go, the virus dies out. It is then far less likely that anyone, immunized or not, will become infected with the virus. Usually, about 70%-90% of people must be vaccinated to reach herd immunity. Because these vaccines will take time to be distributed, we will need patience because it will take many months to reach this point with COVID-19.

To be clear: herd immunity is not the idea that a majority of people get sick with COVID-19 and recover. Herd immunity only applies to the COVID vaccine.

Category: General

The shot will help protect you from being infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the infection that causes COVID-19) and, even if you get infected, it will help prevent you from developing symptoms of severe COVID-19.

Getting the vaccine reduces your risk of becoming ill, seriously ill, or dying from COVID-19. The vaccine may also decrease the chance you could pass the virus on to someone else (see below).

When enough people receive the vaccine, we will reach what’s called herd immunity. Herd immunity will help protect everyone from COVID-19.

However, before we reach that point, we will still need to keep doing all the things we were already doing to protect ourselves: wash hands frequently, social distance, and wear masks.

Category: General

SARS-CoV2 is a virus which mutates to survive. So there have been many variants out there. The 3 big ones that we hear about are the B 1.1.7 or the UK variant; the B1351 or the S. African variant and the 501Y.V3 or the Brazil variant.  Scientists have the entire genetic code for SARS-CoV2, so they know exactly where these mutations are occurring to cause these variants.  

The UK is the most prevalent worldwide and the reason it is of concern for us is because there have also been the highest number of cases reported in the US—and even then, we have not done a good job of sequencing all of our reported COVID cases, so it is likely we are undercounting how many cases there are.  The UK variant’s mutations cause a >50% increase in the virus’s transmissibility.  We DO not know if this changes how lethal it is; but we do know that the more patients who get sick the higher the number who are going to die—so this is important.

We are uncertain if the South African or Brazil variant change the virus’ transmissibility

The important question is how do our vaccines work against these variants.  And what we do know so far is that ALL of the vaccines still prevent severe disease in all of these variants.  

Overall, the vaccines appear to work well against the B 1.1.7 (UK) variant.  The South African variant is a bit more worrisome—we are seeing some immune evasion and reductions in vaccine efficacy.  But again: the J&J vaccine conducted their clinical trials in South Africa, so we know that the this vaccine is effective against this variant.  

But getting back to the nature of viruses to mutate: the more we can decrease the spread of the virus, the more we can decrease these mutations and the number of variants we have.  And we accomplish decreasing spread by wearing a mask, socially distancing and getting vaccinated!

Category: General

We are so glad that you want to get vaccinated! Please: get whichever one is available to you first. The efficacy and the safety data of all three vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, and Janssen) are very comparable to each other (neither one was “better” than the others). Due to supply and/or logistical issues, one may be available to you before the other.

Many have been concerned because of a perceived lower efficacy of the Janssen vaccine. It is very important to know that the Janssen vaccine clinical trials ran after the Pfizer/Moderna trials did, and in countries with a high prevalence of the new COVID variants. Despite this, the Janssen vaccine efficacy was incredibly good and it still protected against hospitalization and death from COVID. We do not know how the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines would have performed in similar situations, so the vaccine trials are not directly comparable.

The one thing we DO know is that all three vaccines have been shown to be protective against severe COVID or death from COVID, and that the longer we go without vaccinations the more time the virus has to make new variants. So we strongly urge people to get whichever vaccine is available to them first!

Category: General

Absolutely not true!  

Many people are hearing the term “72% efficient” and comparing this to the “90-95% efficient” that was reported with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.   It is important to understand that neither of these vaccines were done at the same time period or in the same populations.

The J&J vaccine reported at their FDA Emergency Use Authorization hearing that their vaccine was 85% effective against severe COVID-19 globally; and 72% effective against moderate-severe/critical COVID in the United States.  It is important to put these numbers into context.

The J&J vaccine is only 1 dose (compared to the Pfizer/Moderna 2-dose vaccination regimen). Janssen also conducted their clinical trials later and in a number of countries that had a high prevalence of COVID-19 variants including Brazil and South Africa.  So it is actually pretty incredible that this one-dose vaccine has had such great efficacy in the setting of these variants!  We don’t know the efficacy of the Moderna/Pfizer vaccines with these variants as their clinical trials were conducted before these were an issue.

But most importantly: ALL of the available vaccines prevented hospitalization and death from COVID-19. This is the most important endpoint.  

The J&J vaccine is also extremely easy to distribute quickly: it is a single dose; it can be stored for months at a normal refrigerator temperature and can be stored for years if frozen; and it can ship within the existing infrastructure.  And in order to minimize the emergence of more COVID variants, we need to get more shots in arms! So the J&J vaccine is an extremely valuable and effective vaccine to have!

Category: General

Safety Questions

Please see the resources section for links to places to find a COVID vaccine near you and sign up to be notified when you are eligible for a vaccine in your state.

All of the EUA approved vaccines are injections or a shot. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are two shots. The Pfizer vaccine is given 21 days apart; the Moderna vaccine is given 28 days apart. You are not fully vaccinated until you receive both doses (two shots). If you miss the 21/28-day window, you do NOT need to start all over again.
The Janssen vaccine is a single shot.

Category: General

Yes! These vaccines are effective and have been shown to significantly reduce your risk of getting sick with COVID-19. The risk decreases very quickly. Results from the Pfizer vaccine have shown that within 10 days of receiving the 1st shot, your risk of COVID significantly decreases. This is the same regardless of sex, race, age, or weight.

But with the two-dose vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna), the first dose of the vaccine is only partially effective—you need to get the second dose to be fully protected.

AND: you will still need to continue precautions for awhile longer. No vaccine protects 100% of the time. People will still have to minimize risk by wearing a mask, social distancing and washing hands.

Category: General

No. First, the vaccine immunity takes at least 2–3 weeks after ALL doses. Also, the vaccine is not 100%. You will still need to social distance and wear a mask until we reach herd immunity.

Category: General

Yes!  ALL three approved COVID vaccines have been shown to decrease severe COVID-19 and prevent hospitalization and death from COVID-19.  This is incredibly important for the person vaccinated as well as allowing our health care institutions protected and able to care for everyone.

Category: General

The CDC has recently issued new recommendations for vaccinated individuals. Currently vaccinated people can:
– Visit other vaccinated people indoors without masks or social distancing
– Visit indoors with unvaccinated people from a SINGLE household without masks or physical distancing if the unvaccinated people are at low risk for severe disease
– Skip quarantine and testing if exposed to someone with COVID-19 as long as the vaccinated person is asymptomatic (the vaccinated person should still monitor for symptoms for 14 days).

But: vaccinated people STILL need to take precautions in many scenarios:
– They must wear a mask and physically distance around unvaccinated people who are at an increased risk for severe COVID-19
– They must wear a mask and physically distance around unvaccinated people who have household members who are at an increased risk for severe COVID-19
– And they should wear masks and physically distance when visiting unvaccinated people from multiple households.

Additionally, vaccinated people need to continue basic safety precautions (masking and physically distancing) in public, especially in medium and large-sized crowds, and poorly ventilated public spaces.

Finally, vaccinated people should get tested for COVID-19 if they feel sick.
You can see the full CDC recommendations here: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html

Category: General

This is still being studied, but preliminary data from Pfizer, Moderna and the J&J vaccines looking at asymptomatic transmission of the virus (meaning active virus spreading without the person having symptoms) appears to be significantly decreased in those who are vaccinated.

However scientists and public health officials are still studying this so if you have been fully vaccinated, please follow the CDC guidelines here: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html

Category: General

The clinical trials for the Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen vaccines all indicated that there was no difference in efficacy by age, race, sex or underlying other medical conditions.  It is unclear at this time what the effect of various immunosuppressant medications will be on the vaccines.

It is unclear at this time what the effect of various immunosuppressant medications will be on the vaccine.

Category: General

At this time, we are not entirely sure how long it will last. Please stay tuned and we will update with more information as it comes!

Category: General

This is a really great question and one that many are discussing given vaccine shortages. Currently, it is recommended that you receive BOTH doses of the Pfizer (21 days apart) or Moderna (28 days apart) vaccines. If you miss the 21/28 day windows, you do NOT need to start all over again—just get the second dose as soon as you can. We do not know how this will affect the effectiveness of the vaccinations but will keep updating with recommendations from scientists and public health advocates!

Of course, if you receive the Janssen vaccine it is only one dose.

Category: General

No! In fact, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have shown efficacy after their first dose alone. However, you do not get the full efficacy until you get the second dose—so please make sure to follow-up with your second dose; and always wear a mask, maintain social distancing and wash your hands.

Category: General

This is a great question! Currently people can — and should — receive the vaccine regardless of their prior history of infection.

It is NOT recommended that you need to test for active or prior infection before getting the vacccine

Given that it appears that many people who have had COVID have immunity for at ~90 days, people who have been infected can wait until a 90-day period has passed to receive the vaccine (but they do not have to wait).

If you are actively infected with COVID, you should wait until you have recovered from your acute infection and your quarantine period is over. This is so that we protect those giving the vaccines and others at the sites where vaccinations will be happening.

If you have been exposed to someone who had COVID, you should wait until your quarantine period is over — again to protect those giving the vaccines and others at the sites were vaccinations are happening.

If you have been treated with a monoclonal antibody treatment, you should also wait 90 days from that treatment before getting vaccinated.

Category: General

The federal government is providing the vaccine free of charge to people living in the United States. However, your vaccination provider may bill your insurance company, Medicaid, or Medicare for an administration fee.

Category: General

No-there did not appear to be any negative interactions (remember, the clinical trials ran through flu season, so many participants received both). We do know that getting both the flu and COVID illnesses at the same time appears to be associated with a significantly increased risk of death, so we recommend obtaining BOTH vaccines! But you should space them apart by at least 14 days.

Category: General

Currently it is recommended that you space your COVID vaccine out by 14 days of any other vaccine so potential reactions are not confused between different vaccines.

Category: General

We are so glad that you want to get vaccinated! Please: get whichever one is available to you first. The efficacy and the safety data of all three vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, and Janssen) are very comparable to each other (neither one was “better” than the others). Due to supply and/or logistical issues, one may be available to you before the other.

Many have been concerned because of a perceived lower efficacy of the Janssen vaccine. It is very important to know that the Janssen vaccine clinical trials ran after the Pfizer/Moderna trials did, and in countries with a high prevalence of the new COVID variants. Despite this, the Janssen vaccine efficacy was incredibly good and it still protected against hospitalization and death from COVID. We do not know how the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines would have performed in similar situations, so the vaccine trials are not directly comparable.

The one thing we DO know is that all three vaccines have been shown to be protective against severe COVID or death from COVID, and that the longer we go without vaccinations the more time the virus has to make new variants. So we strongly urge people to get whichever vaccine is available to them first!

Category: General

Currently the vaccine trials only evaluated the efficacy of two doses of their own vaccine. The safety and efficacy was not tested for obtaining doses from different vaccines.

Category: General

No—you do not need to get multiple vaccines. All of the vaccines approved by emergency use authorization (EUA) are effective on their own and currently there are no recommendations that multiple vaccinations are needed.

Category: General

The current CDC recommendations are that you wait 90 days from the time you received either convalescent plasma or monoclonal antibody therapy before receiving any of the three approved COVID vaccines.

Category: General

That is a really good concern. COVID19 has affected certain communities far more than others, and it is really important to ask if those communities have been part of this vaccine development as well as the safety reviews for these vaccines. In addition, we recognize that medicine historically has not treated underrepresented communities equally, and this creates legitimate distrust of the system.

In regards to the COVID-19 vaccine, scientists and advocates from very diverse backgrounds have been part of the leadership of these vaccines as well as reviewing and making guidelines and decisions regarding them. For example, Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, who works for the National Institutes of Health, is an African-American woman who helped develop the Moderna vaccine. The safety monitoring and review boards for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines included scientists, physicians and advocates from diverse backgrounds representing numerous groups from all parts of the country. These hearings were also open to the public so that they could be as transparent as possible.

We fully recognize this may not be enough, but we hope that it gives some measure of comfort knowing that representation has occurred at all levels, from vaccine development through the independent safety reviews. COVID19 has been devastating and these vaccines represent the first real hope we’ve had to combat this pandemic.

Category: General

This is when a person is “hesitant” about receiving the vaccine. This can be due to many factors, such as concern about the safety and development of this specific vaccine, lack of confidence in vaccines as a whole, or a lack of education about vaccination.

This is why it’s important for all of us to talk to each other, discuss concerns, and address them as honestly as possible.

Category: General

This vaccine has been developed very quickly compared to other vaccines. This is due to the urgency of the global pandemic. However, it has been created in a way that allowed it to be safe and to be studied so that people around the world can be confident in taking it

The next step is distribution. Distribution has some challenges, including shipping, storing (some vaccines need to be kept at remarkably cold temperatures!), and administration. The millions of doses that are needed still need to be manufactured.

Finally, there will be people who do not want to receive the vaccine for various reasons — or who do not want to receive it at first but do end up receiving it later. This delay is a barrier in achieving “herd immunity,” and it may take time and patience to reach a level of 70–80% of the population becoming vaccinated

Category: General

Herd immunity occurs when a majority of the population (the “herd”) is vaccinated. When enough people are immune through vaccination, the disease is unable to spread. With nowhere to go, the virus dies out. It is then far less likely that anyone, immunized or not, will become infected with the virus. Usually, about 70%-90% of people must be vaccinated to reach herd immunity. Because these vaccines will take time to be distributed, we will need patience because it will take many months to reach this point with COVID-19.

To be clear: herd immunity is not the idea that a majority of people get sick with COVID-19 and recover. Herd immunity only applies to the COVID vaccine.

Category: General

The shot will help protect you from being infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the infection that causes COVID-19) and, even if you get infected, it will help prevent you from developing symptoms of severe COVID-19.

Getting the vaccine reduces your risk of becoming ill, seriously ill, or dying from COVID-19. The vaccine may also decrease the chance you could pass the virus on to someone else (see below).

When enough people receive the vaccine, we will reach what’s called herd immunity. Herd immunity will help protect everyone from COVID-19.

However, before we reach that point, we will still need to keep doing all the things we were already doing to protect ourselves: wash hands frequently, social distance, and wear masks.

Category: General

SARS-CoV2 is a virus which mutates to survive. So there have been many variants out there. The 3 big ones that we hear about are the B 1.1.7 or the UK variant; the B1351 or the S. African variant and the 501Y.V3 or the Brazil variant.  Scientists have the entire genetic code for SARS-CoV2, so they know exactly where these mutations are occurring to cause these variants.  

The UK is the most prevalent worldwide and the reason it is of concern for us is because there have also been the highest number of cases reported in the US—and even then, we have not done a good job of sequencing all of our reported COVID cases, so it is likely we are undercounting how many cases there are.  The UK variant’s mutations cause a >50% increase in the virus’s transmissibility.  We DO not know if this changes how lethal it is; but we do know that the more patients who get sick the higher the number who are going to die—so this is important.

We are uncertain if the South African or Brazil variant change the virus’ transmissibility

The important question is how do our vaccines work against these variants.  And what we do know so far is that ALL of the vaccines still prevent severe disease in all of these variants.  

Overall, the vaccines appear to work well against the B 1.1.7 (UK) variant.  The South African variant is a bit more worrisome—we are seeing some immune evasion and reductions in vaccine efficacy.  But again: the J&J vaccine conducted their clinical trials in South Africa, so we know that the this vaccine is effective against this variant.  

But getting back to the nature of viruses to mutate: the more we can decrease the spread of the virus, the more we can decrease these mutations and the number of variants we have.  And we accomplish decreasing spread by wearing a mask, socially distancing and getting vaccinated!

Category: General

We are so glad that you want to get vaccinated! Please: get whichever one is available to you first. The efficacy and the safety data of all three vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, and Janssen) are very comparable to each other (neither one was “better” than the others). Due to supply and/or logistical issues, one may be available to you before the other.

Many have been concerned because of a perceived lower efficacy of the Janssen vaccine. It is very important to know that the Janssen vaccine clinical trials ran after the Pfizer/Moderna trials did, and in countries with a high prevalence of the new COVID variants. Despite this, the Janssen vaccine efficacy was incredibly good and it still protected against hospitalization and death from COVID. We do not know how the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines would have performed in similar situations, so the vaccine trials are not directly comparable.

The one thing we DO know is that all three vaccines have been shown to be protective against severe COVID or death from COVID, and that the longer we go without vaccinations the more time the virus has to make new variants. So we strongly urge people to get whichever vaccine is available to them first!

Category: General

Absolutely not true!  

Many people are hearing the term “72% efficient” and comparing this to the “90-95% efficient” that was reported with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.   It is important to understand that neither of these vaccines were done at the same time period or in the same populations.

The J&J vaccine reported at their FDA Emergency Use Authorization hearing that their vaccine was 85% effective against severe COVID-19 globally; and 72% effective against moderate-severe/critical COVID in the United States.  It is important to put these numbers into context.

The J&J vaccine is only 1 dose (compared to the Pfizer/Moderna 2-dose vaccination regimen). Janssen also conducted their clinical trials later and in a number of countries that had a high prevalence of COVID-19 variants including Brazil and South Africa.  So it is actually pretty incredible that this one-dose vaccine has had such great efficacy in the setting of these variants!  We don’t know the efficacy of the Moderna/Pfizer vaccines with these variants as their clinical trials were conducted before these were an issue.

But most importantly: ALL of the available vaccines prevented hospitalization and death from COVID-19. This is the most important endpoint.  

The J&J vaccine is also extremely easy to distribute quickly: it is a single dose; it can be stored for months at a normal refrigerator temperature and can be stored for years if frozen; and it can ship within the existing infrastructure.  And in order to minimize the emergence of more COVID variants, we need to get more shots in arms! So the J&J vaccine is an extremely valuable and effective vaccine to have!

Category: General

Timeline Questions

Please see the resources section for links to places to find a COVID vaccine near you and sign up to be notified when you are eligible for a vaccine in your state.

All of the EUA approved vaccines are injections or a shot. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are two shots. The Pfizer vaccine is given 21 days apart; the Moderna vaccine is given 28 days apart. You are not fully vaccinated until you receive both doses (two shots). If you miss the 21/28-day window, you do NOT need to start all over again.
The Janssen vaccine is a single shot.

Category: General

Yes! These vaccines are effective and have been shown to significantly reduce your risk of getting sick with COVID-19. The risk decreases very quickly. Results from the Pfizer vaccine have shown that within 10 days of receiving the 1st shot, your risk of COVID significantly decreases. This is the same regardless of sex, race, age, or weight.

But with the two-dose vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna), the first dose of the vaccine is only partially effective—you need to get the second dose to be fully protected.

AND: you will still need to continue precautions for awhile longer. No vaccine protects 100% of the time. People will still have to minimize risk by wearing a mask, social distancing and washing hands.

Category: General

No. First, the vaccine immunity takes at least 2–3 weeks after ALL doses. Also, the vaccine is not 100%. You will still need to social distance and wear a mask until we reach herd immunity.

Category: General

Yes!  ALL three approved COVID vaccines have been shown to decrease severe COVID-19 and prevent hospitalization and death from COVID-19.  This is incredibly important for the person vaccinated as well as allowing our health care institutions protected and able to care for everyone.

Category: General

The CDC has recently issued new recommendations for vaccinated individuals. Currently vaccinated people can:
– Visit other vaccinated people indoors without masks or social distancing
– Visit indoors with unvaccinated people from a SINGLE household without masks or physical distancing if the unvaccinated people are at low risk for severe disease
– Skip quarantine and testing if exposed to someone with COVID-19 as long as the vaccinated person is asymptomatic (the vaccinated person should still monitor for symptoms for 14 days).

But: vaccinated people STILL need to take precautions in many scenarios:
– They must wear a mask and physically distance around unvaccinated people who are at an increased risk for severe COVID-19
– They must wear a mask and physically distance around unvaccinated people who have household members who are at an increased risk for severe COVID-19
– And they should wear masks and physically distance when visiting unvaccinated people from multiple households.

Additionally, vaccinated people need to continue basic safety precautions (masking and physically distancing) in public, especially in medium and large-sized crowds, and poorly ventilated public spaces.

Finally, vaccinated people should get tested for COVID-19 if they feel sick.
You can see the full CDC recommendations here: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html

Category: General

This is still being studied, but preliminary data from Pfizer, Moderna and the J&J vaccines looking at asymptomatic transmission of the virus (meaning active virus spreading without the person having symptoms) appears to be significantly decreased in those who are vaccinated.

However scientists and public health officials are still studying this so if you have been fully vaccinated, please follow the CDC guidelines here: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html

Category: General

The clinical trials for the Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen vaccines all indicated that there was no difference in efficacy by age, race, sex or underlying other medical conditions.  It is unclear at this time what the effect of various immunosuppressant medications will be on the vaccines.

It is unclear at this time what the effect of various immunosuppressant medications will be on the vaccine.

Category: General

At this time, we are not entirely sure how long it will last. Please stay tuned and we will update with more information as it comes!

Category: General

This is a really great question and one that many are discussing given vaccine shortages. Currently, it is recommended that you receive BOTH doses of the Pfizer (21 days apart) or Moderna (28 days apart) vaccines. If you miss the 21/28 day windows, you do NOT need to start all over again—just get the second dose as soon as you can. We do not know how this will affect the effectiveness of the vaccinations but will keep updating with recommendations from scientists and public health advocates!

Of course, if you receive the Janssen vaccine it is only one dose.

Category: General

No! In fact, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have shown efficacy after their first dose alone. However, you do not get the full efficacy until you get the second dose—so please make sure to follow-up with your second dose; and always wear a mask, maintain social distancing and wash your hands.

Category: General

This is a great question! Currently people can — and should — receive the vaccine regardless of their prior history of infection.

It is NOT recommended that you need to test for active or prior infection before getting the vacccine

Given that it appears that many people who have had COVID have immunity for at ~90 days, people who have been infected can wait until a 90-day period has passed to receive the vaccine (but they do not have to wait).

If you are actively infected with COVID, you should wait until you have recovered from your acute infection and your quarantine period is over. This is so that we protect those giving the vaccines and others at the sites where vaccinations will be happening.

If you have been exposed to someone who had COVID, you should wait until your quarantine period is over — again to protect those giving the vaccines and others at the sites were vaccinations are happening.

If you have been treated with a monoclonal antibody treatment, you should also wait 90 days from that treatment before getting vaccinated.

Category: General

The federal government is providing the vaccine free of charge to people living in the United States. However, your vaccination provider may bill your insurance company, Medicaid, or Medicare for an administration fee.

Category: General

No-there did not appear to be any negative interactions (remember, the clinical trials ran through flu season, so many participants received both). We do know that getting both the flu and COVID illnesses at the same time appears to be associated with a significantly increased risk of death, so we recommend obtaining BOTH vaccines! But you should space them apart by at least 14 days.

Category: General

Currently it is recommended that you space your COVID vaccine out by 14 days of any other vaccine so potential reactions are not confused between different vaccines.

Category: General

We are so glad that you want to get vaccinated! Please: get whichever one is available to you first. The efficacy and the safety data of all three vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, and Janssen) are very comparable to each other (neither one was “better” than the others). Due to supply and/or logistical issues, one may be available to you before the other.

Many have been concerned because of a perceived lower efficacy of the Janssen vaccine. It is very important to know that the Janssen vaccine clinical trials ran after the Pfizer/Moderna trials did, and in countries with a high prevalence of the new COVID variants. Despite this, the Janssen vaccine efficacy was incredibly good and it still protected against hospitalization and death from COVID. We do not know how the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines would have performed in similar situations, so the vaccine trials are not directly comparable.

The one thing we DO know is that all three vaccines have been shown to be protective against severe COVID or death from COVID, and that the longer we go without vaccinations the more time the virus has to make new variants. So we strongly urge people to get whichever vaccine is available to them first!

Category: General

Currently the vaccine trials only evaluated the efficacy of two doses of their own vaccine. The safety and efficacy was not tested for obtaining doses from different vaccines.

Category: General

No—you do not need to get multiple vaccines. All of the vaccines approved by emergency use authorization (EUA) are effective on their own and currently there are no recommendations that multiple vaccinations are needed.

Category: General

The current CDC recommendations are that you wait 90 days from the time you received either convalescent plasma or monoclonal antibody therapy before receiving any of the three approved COVID vaccines.

Category: General

That is a really good concern. COVID19 has affected certain communities far more than others, and it is really important to ask if those communities have been part of this vaccine development as well as the safety reviews for these vaccines. In addition, we recognize that medicine historically has not treated underrepresented communities equally, and this creates legitimate distrust of the system.

In regards to the COVID-19 vaccine, scientists and advocates from very diverse backgrounds have been part of the leadership of these vaccines as well as reviewing and making guidelines and decisions regarding them. For example, Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, who works for the National Institutes of Health, is an African-American woman who helped develop the Moderna vaccine. The safety monitoring and review boards for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines included scientists, physicians and advocates from diverse backgrounds representing numerous groups from all parts of the country. These hearings were also open to the public so that they could be as transparent as possible.

We fully recognize this may not be enough, but we hope that it gives some measure of comfort knowing that representation has occurred at all levels, from vaccine development through the independent safety reviews. COVID19 has been devastating and these vaccines represent the first real hope we’ve had to combat this pandemic.

Category: General

This is when a person is “hesitant” about receiving the vaccine. This can be due to many factors, such as concern about the safety and development of this specific vaccine, lack of confidence in vaccines as a whole, or a lack of education about vaccination.

This is why it’s important for all of us to talk to each other, discuss concerns, and address them as honestly as possible.

Category: General

This vaccine has been developed very quickly compared to other vaccines. This is due to the urgency of the global pandemic. However, it has been created in a way that allowed it to be safe and to be studied so that people around the world can be confident in taking it

The next step is distribution. Distribution has some challenges, including shipping, storing (some vaccines need to be kept at remarkably cold temperatures!), and administration. The millions of doses that are needed still need to be manufactured.

Finally, there will be people who do not want to receive the vaccine for various reasons — or who do not want to receive it at first but do end up receiving it later. This delay is a barrier in achieving “herd immunity,” and it may take time and patience to reach a level of 70–80% of the population becoming vaccinated

Category: General

Herd immunity occurs when a majority of the population (the “herd”) is vaccinated. When enough people are immune through vaccination, the disease is unable to spread. With nowhere to go, the virus dies out. It is then far less likely that anyone, immunized or not, will become infected with the virus. Usually, about 70%-90% of people must be vaccinated to reach herd immunity. Because these vaccines will take time to be distributed, we will need patience because it will take many months to reach this point with COVID-19.

To be clear: herd immunity is not the idea that a majority of people get sick with COVID-19 and recover. Herd immunity only applies to the COVID vaccine.

Category: General

The shot will help protect you from being infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the infection that causes COVID-19) and, even if you get infected, it will help prevent you from developing symptoms of severe COVID-19.

Getting the vaccine reduces your risk of becoming ill, seriously ill, or dying from COVID-19. The vaccine may also decrease the chance you could pass the virus on to someone else (see below).

When enough people receive the vaccine, we will reach what’s called herd immunity. Herd immunity will help protect everyone from COVID-19.

However, before we reach that point, we will still need to keep doing all the things we were already doing to protect ourselves: wash hands frequently, social distance, and wear masks.

Category: General

SARS-CoV2 is a virus which mutates to survive. So there have been many variants out there. The 3 big ones that we hear about are the B 1.1.7 or the UK variant; the B1351 or the S. African variant and the 501Y.V3 or the Brazil variant.  Scientists have the entire genetic code for SARS-CoV2, so they know exactly where these mutations are occurring to cause these variants.  

The UK is the most prevalent worldwide and the reason it is of concern for us is because there have also been the highest number of cases reported in the US—and even then, we have not done a good job of sequencing all of our reported COVID cases, so it is likely we are undercounting how many cases there are.  The UK variant’s mutations cause a >50% increase in the virus’s transmissibility.  We DO not know if this changes how lethal it is; but we do know that the more patients who get sick the higher the number who are going to die—so this is important.

We are uncertain if the South African or Brazil variant change the virus’ transmissibility

The important question is how do our vaccines work against these variants.  And what we do know so far is that ALL of the vaccines still prevent severe disease in all of these variants.  

Overall, the vaccines appear to work well against the B 1.1.7 (UK) variant.  The South African variant is a bit more worrisome—we are seeing some immune evasion and reductions in vaccine efficacy.  But again: the J&J vaccine conducted their clinical trials in South Africa, so we know that the this vaccine is effective against this variant.  

But getting back to the nature of viruses to mutate: the more we can decrease the spread of the virus, the more we can decrease these mutations and the number of variants we have.  And we accomplish decreasing spread by wearing a mask, socially distancing and getting vaccinated!

Category: General

We are so glad that you want to get vaccinated! Please: get whichever one is available to you first. The efficacy and the safety data of all three vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, and Janssen) are very comparable to each other (neither one was “better” than the others). Due to supply and/or logistical issues, one may be available to you before the other.

Many have been concerned because of a perceived lower efficacy of the Janssen vaccine. It is very important to know that the Janssen vaccine clinical trials ran after the Pfizer/Moderna trials did, and in countries with a high prevalence of the new COVID variants. Despite this, the Janssen vaccine efficacy was incredibly good and it still protected against hospitalization and death from COVID. We do not know how the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines would have performed in similar situations, so the vaccine trials are not directly comparable.

The one thing we DO know is that all three vaccines have been shown to be protective against severe COVID or death from COVID, and that the longer we go without vaccinations the more time the virus has to make new variants. So we strongly urge people to get whichever vaccine is available to them first!

Category: General

Absolutely not true!  

Many people are hearing the term “72% efficient” and comparing this to the “90-95% efficient” that was reported with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.   It is important to understand that neither of these vaccines were done at the same time period or in the same populations.

The J&J vaccine reported at their FDA Emergency Use Authorization hearing that their vaccine was 85% effective against severe COVID-19 globally; and 72% effective against moderate-severe/critical COVID in the United States.  It is important to put these numbers into context.

The J&J vaccine is only 1 dose (compared to the Pfizer/Moderna 2-dose vaccination regimen). Janssen also conducted their clinical trials later and in a number of countries that had a high prevalence of COVID-19 variants including Brazil and South Africa.  So it is actually pretty incredible that this one-dose vaccine has had such great efficacy in the setting of these variants!  We don’t know the efficacy of the Moderna/Pfizer vaccines with these variants as their clinical trials were conducted before these were an issue.

But most importantly: ALL of the available vaccines prevented hospitalization and death from COVID-19. This is the most important endpoint.  

The J&J vaccine is also extremely easy to distribute quickly: it is a single dose; it can be stored for months at a normal refrigerator temperature and can be stored for years if frozen; and it can ship within the existing infrastructure.  And in order to minimize the emergence of more COVID variants, we need to get more shots in arms! So the J&J vaccine is an extremely valuable and effective vaccine to have!

Category: General

Vulnerable Population Questions

Please see the resources section for links to places to find a COVID vaccine near you and sign up to be notified when you are eligible for a vaccine in your state.

All of the EUA approved vaccines are injections or a shot. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are two shots. The Pfizer vaccine is given 21 days apart; the Moderna vaccine is given 28 days apart. You are not fully vaccinated until you receive both doses (two shots). If you miss the 21/28-day window, you do NOT need to start all over again.
The Janssen vaccine is a single shot.

Category: General

Yes! These vaccines are effective and have been shown to significantly reduce your risk of getting sick with COVID-19. The risk decreases very quickly. Results from the Pfizer vaccine have shown that within 10 days of receiving the 1st shot, your risk of COVID significantly decreases. This is the same regardless of sex, race, age, or weight.

But with the two-dose vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna), the first dose of the vaccine is only partially effective—you need to get the second dose to be fully protected.

AND: you will still need to continue precautions for awhile longer. No vaccine protects 100% of the time. People will still have to minimize risk by wearing a mask, social distancing and washing hands.

Category: General

No. First, the vaccine immunity takes at least 2–3 weeks after ALL doses. Also, the vaccine is not 100%. You will still need to social distance and wear a mask until we reach herd immunity.

Category: General

Yes!  ALL three approved COVID vaccines have been shown to decrease severe COVID-19 and prevent hospitalization and death from COVID-19.  This is incredibly important for the person vaccinated as well as allowing our health care institutions protected and able to care for everyone.

Category: General

The CDC has recently issued new recommendations for vaccinated individuals. Currently vaccinated people can:
– Visit other vaccinated people indoors without masks or social distancing
– Visit indoors with unvaccinated people from a SINGLE household without masks or physical distancing if the unvaccinated people are at low risk for severe disease
– Skip quarantine and testing if exposed to someone with COVID-19 as long as the vaccinated person is asymptomatic (the vaccinated person should still monitor for symptoms for 14 days).

But: vaccinated people STILL need to take precautions in many scenarios:
– They must wear a mask and physically distance around unvaccinated people who are at an increased risk for severe COVID-19
– They must wear a mask and physically distance around unvaccinated people who have household members who are at an increased risk for severe COVID-19
– And they should wear masks and physically distance when visiting unvaccinated people from multiple households.

Additionally, vaccinated people need to continue basic safety precautions (masking and physically distancing) in public, especially in medium and large-sized crowds, and poorly ventilated public spaces.

Finally, vaccinated people should get tested for COVID-19 if they feel sick.
You can see the full CDC recommendations here: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html

Category: General

This is still being studied, but preliminary data from Pfizer, Moderna and the J&J vaccines looking at asymptomatic transmission of the virus (meaning active virus spreading without the person having symptoms) appears to be significantly decreased in those who are vaccinated.

However scientists and public health officials are still studying this so if you have been fully vaccinated, please follow the CDC guidelines here: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html

Category: General

The clinical trials for the Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen vaccines all indicated that there was no difference in efficacy by age, race, sex or underlying other medical conditions.  It is unclear at this time what the effect of various immunosuppressant medications will be on the vaccines.

It is unclear at this time what the effect of various immunosuppressant medications will be on the vaccine.

Category: General

At this time, we are not entirely sure how long it will last. Please stay tuned and we will update with more information as it comes!

Category: General

This is a really great question and one that many are discussing given vaccine shortages. Currently, it is recommended that you receive BOTH doses of the Pfizer (21 days apart) or Moderna (28 days apart) vaccines. If you miss the 21/28 day windows, you do NOT need to start all over again—just get the second dose as soon as you can. We do not know how this will affect the effectiveness of the vaccinations but will keep updating with recommendations from scientists and public health advocates!

Of course, if you receive the Janssen vaccine it is only one dose.

Category: General

No! In fact, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have shown efficacy after their first dose alone. However, you do not get the full efficacy until you get the second dose—so please make sure to follow-up with your second dose; and always wear a mask, maintain social distancing and wash your hands.

Category: General

This is a great question! Currently people can — and should — receive the vaccine regardless of their prior history of infection.

It is NOT recommended that you need to test for active or prior infection before getting the vacccine

Given that it appears that many people who have had COVID have immunity for at ~90 days, people who have been infected can wait until a 90-day period has passed to receive the vaccine (but they do not have to wait).

If you are actively infected with COVID, you should wait until you have recovered from your acute infection and your quarantine period is over. This is so that we protect those giving the vaccines and others at the sites where vaccinations will be happening.

If you have been exposed to someone who had COVID, you should wait until your quarantine period is over — again to protect those giving the vaccines and others at the sites were vaccinations are happening.

If you have been treated with a monoclonal antibody treatment, you should also wait 90 days from that treatment before getting vaccinated.

Category: General

The federal government is providing the vaccine free of charge to people living in the United States. However, your vaccination provider may bill your insurance company, Medicaid, or Medicare for an administration fee.

Category: General

No-there did not appear to be any negative interactions (remember, the clinical trials ran through flu season, so many participants received both). We do know that getting both the flu and COVID illnesses at the same time appears to be associated with a significantly increased risk of death, so we recommend obtaining BOTH vaccines! But you should space them apart by at least 14 days.

Category: General

Currently it is recommended that you space your COVID vaccine out by 14 days of any other vaccine so potential reactions are not confused between different vaccines.

Category: General

We are so glad that you want to get vaccinated! Please: get whichever one is available to you first. The efficacy and the safety data of all three vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, and Janssen) are very comparable to each other (neither one was “better” than the others). Due to supply and/or logistical issues, one may be available to you before the other.

Many have been concerned because of a perceived lower efficacy of the Janssen vaccine. It is very important to know that the Janssen vaccine clinical trials ran after the Pfizer/Moderna trials did, and in countries with a high prevalence of the new COVID variants. Despite this, the Janssen vaccine efficacy was incredibly good and it still protected against hospitalization and death from COVID. We do not know how the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines would have performed in similar situations, so the vaccine trials are not directly comparable.

The one thing we DO know is that all three vaccines have been shown to be protective against severe COVID or death from COVID, and that the longer we go without vaccinations the more time the virus has to make new variants. So we strongly urge people to get whichever vaccine is available to them first!

Category: General

Currently the vaccine trials only evaluated the efficacy of two doses of their own vaccine. The safety and efficacy was not tested for obtaining doses from different vaccines.

Category: General

No—you do not need to get multiple vaccines. All of the vaccines approved by emergency use authorization (EUA) are effective on their own and currently there are no recommendations that multiple vaccinations are needed.

Category: General

The current CDC recommendations are that you wait 90 days from the time you received either convalescent plasma or monoclonal antibody therapy before receiving any of the three approved COVID vaccines.

Category: General

That is a really good concern. COVID19 has affected certain communities far more than others, and it is really important to ask if those communities have been part of this vaccine development as well as the safety reviews for these vaccines. In addition, we recognize that medicine historically has not treated underrepresented communities equally, and this creates legitimate distrust of the system.

In regards to the COVID-19 vaccine, scientists and advocates from very diverse backgrounds have been part of the leadership of these vaccines as well as reviewing and making guidelines and decisions regarding them. For example, Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, who works for the National Institutes of Health, is an African-American woman who helped develop the Moderna vaccine. The safety monitoring and review boards for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines included scientists, physicians and advocates from diverse backgrounds representing numerous groups from all parts of the country. These hearings were also open to the public so that they could be as transparent as possible.

We fully recognize this may not be enough, but we hope that it gives some measure of comfort knowing that representation has occurred at all levels, from vaccine development through the independent safety reviews. COVID19 has been devastating and these vaccines represent the first real hope we’ve had to combat this pandemic.

Category: General

This is when a person is “hesitant” about receiving the vaccine. This can be due to many factors, such as concern about the safety and development of this specific vaccine, lack of confidence in vaccines as a whole, or a lack of education about vaccination.

This is why it’s important for all of us to talk to each other, discuss concerns, and address them as honestly as possible.

Category: General

This vaccine has been developed very quickly compared to other vaccines. This is due to the urgency of the global pandemic. However, it has been created in a way that allowed it to be safe and to be studied so that people around the world can be confident in taking it

The next step is distribution. Distribution has some challenges, including shipping, storing (some vaccines need to be kept at remarkably cold temperatures!), and administration. The millions of doses that are needed still need to be manufactured.

Finally, there will be people who do not want to receive the vaccine for various reasons — or who do not want to receive it at first but do end up receiving it later. This delay is a barrier in achieving “herd immunity,” and it may take time and patience to reach a level of 70–80% of the population becoming vaccinated

Category: General

Herd immunity occurs when a majority of the population (the “herd”) is vaccinated. When enough people are immune through vaccination, the disease is unable to spread. With nowhere to go, the virus dies out. It is then far less likely that anyone, immunized or not, will become infected with the virus. Usually, about 70%-90% of people must be vaccinated to reach herd immunity. Because these vaccines will take time to be distributed, we will need patience because it will take many months to reach this point with COVID-19.

To be clear: herd immunity is not the idea that a majority of people get sick with COVID-19 and recover. Herd immunity only applies to the COVID vaccine.

Category: General

The shot will help protect you from being infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the infection that causes COVID-19) and, even if you get infected, it will help prevent you from developing symptoms of severe COVID-19.

Getting the vaccine reduces your risk of becoming ill, seriously ill, or dying from COVID-19. The vaccine may also decrease the chance you could pass the virus on to someone else (see below).

When enough people receive the vaccine, we will reach what’s called herd immunity. Herd immunity will help protect everyone from COVID-19.

However, before we reach that point, we will still need to keep doing all the things we were already doing to protect ourselves: wash hands frequently, social distance, and wear masks.

Category: General

SARS-CoV2 is a virus which mutates to survive. So there have been many variants out there. The 3 big ones that we hear about are the B 1.1.7 or the UK variant; the B1351 or the S. African variant and the 501Y.V3 or the Brazil variant.  Scientists have the entire genetic code for SARS-CoV2, so they know exactly where these mutations are occurring to cause these variants.  

The UK is the most prevalent worldwide and the reason it is of concern for us is because there have also been the highest number of cases reported in the US—and even then, we have not done a good job of sequencing all of our reported COVID cases, so it is likely we are undercounting how many cases there are.  The UK variant’s mutations cause a >50% increase in the virus’s transmissibility.  We DO not know if this changes how lethal it is; but we do know that the more patients who get sick the higher the number who are going to die—so this is important.

We are uncertain if the South African or Brazil variant change the virus’ transmissibility

The important question is how do our vaccines work against these variants.  And what we do know so far is that ALL of the vaccines still prevent severe disease in all of these variants.  

Overall, the vaccines appear to work well against the B 1.1.7 (UK) variant.  The South African variant is a bit more worrisome—we are seeing some immune evasion and reductions in vaccine efficacy.  But again: the J&J vaccine conducted their clinical trials in South Africa, so we know that the this vaccine is effective against this variant.  

But getting back to the nature of viruses to mutate: the more we can decrease the spread of the virus, the more we can decrease these mutations and the number of variants we have.  And we accomplish decreasing spread by wearing a mask, socially distancing and getting vaccinated!

Category: General

We are so glad that you want to get vaccinated! Please: get whichever one is available to you first. The efficacy and the safety data of all three vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, and Janssen) are very comparable to each other (neither one was “better” than the others). Due to supply and/or logistical issues, one may be available to you before the other.

Many have been concerned because of a perceived lower efficacy of the Janssen vaccine. It is very important to know that the Janssen vaccine clinical trials ran after the Pfizer/Moderna trials did, and in countries with a high prevalence of the new COVID variants. Despite this, the Janssen vaccine efficacy was incredibly good and it still protected against hospitalization and death from COVID. We do not know how the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines would have performed in similar situations, so the vaccine trials are not directly comparable.

The one thing we DO know is that all three vaccines have been shown to be protective against severe COVID or death from COVID, and that the longer we go without vaccinations the more time the virus has to make new variants. So we strongly urge people to get whichever vaccine is available to them first!

Category: General

Absolutely not true!  

Many people are hearing the term “72% efficient” and comparing this to the “90-95% efficient” that was reported with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.   It is important to understand that neither of these vaccines were done at the same time period or in the same populations.

The J&J vaccine reported at their FDA Emergency Use Authorization hearing that their vaccine was 85% effective against severe COVID-19 globally; and 72% effective against moderate-severe/critical COVID in the United States.  It is important to put these numbers into context.

The J&J vaccine is only 1 dose (compared to the Pfizer/Moderna 2-dose vaccination regimen). Janssen also conducted their clinical trials later and in a number of countries that had a high prevalence of COVID-19 variants including Brazil and South Africa.  So it is actually pretty incredible that this one-dose vaccine has had such great efficacy in the setting of these variants!  We don’t know the efficacy of the Moderna/Pfizer vaccines with these variants as their clinical trials were conducted before these were an issue.

But most importantly: ALL of the available vaccines prevented hospitalization and death from COVID-19. This is the most important endpoint.  

The J&J vaccine is also extremely easy to distribute quickly: it is a single dose; it can be stored for months at a normal refrigerator temperature and can be stored for years if frozen; and it can ship within the existing infrastructure.  And in order to minimize the emergence of more COVID variants, we need to get more shots in arms! So the J&J vaccine is an extremely valuable and effective vaccine to have!

Category: General
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