General Questions

General Questions

The vaccine is an injection or shot. You will need two shots for both of the EUA approved vaccines. 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.

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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 that first dose is only 52% effective on its own. That’s why you need to get that second dose to get to the 95% effectiveness that everyone is talking about.

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.

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The clinical trials for both Pfizer and Moderna thus far indicate no difference in efficacy by age with the vaccine.

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

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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!

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This is a really great question and one many are already discussing given vaccine shortages. Currently it is recommended that you receive the two doses of the Pfizer vaccine 21 days apart. If you miss the 21 day window, you do NOT need to start all over again.

We do not know how this will affect efficacy at this time but will keep updating with recommendations from scientists and public health advocates based efficacy data we have!

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No! In fact, what is really great is that the Pfizer vaccine has been shown to cause a 52% efficacy with the first dose alone — and within 10 days of the dose! That is really incredible!

Still — you do not get that 90+% 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!

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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.

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That is a great question! Currently it is estimated it will cost (depending on the vaccine and insurer) anywhere from $3 to $38 per dose for the vaccines. This is the administrative fee for giving the shot and may be reimbursable by public/private insurance.

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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.

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Currently, for the Pfizer vaccine, it is recommended that the COVID vaccine should be administered at least 14 days before/after any other vaccine so potential reactions are not confused with reactions to other vaccines.

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

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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.

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No — you do not need to get both vaccines! Both of the vaccines approved by emergency use authorization (EUA), the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines, work in the same way: they are mRNA vaccines that target the spike protein of the virus (the protein that allows the virus to enter the body’s cells). Both have very similar efficacies and very similar side effect profiles.

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At this time there is not enough data to know if there is any change in vaccine effectiveness in people who have received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma. Please stay tuned for any updates to this!

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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You can still obtain the COVID vaccine, but currently the recommendations are to wait 90 days from the time of receiving the plasma or monoclonal antibody therapy.

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No. We are still collecting data on how well the vaccines will prevent the spread of coronavirus. Some vaccinated people may get infected without developing symptoms and silently spread the disease to others. You must continue to practice social distancing, wear a mask, and wash your hands frequently. While vaccines are effective, they are not a 100% guarantee, and it will take at least several months for us to reach a point of herd immunity.

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Yes. The vaccine has been shown to decrease severe COVID-19 in those who do come in contact with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This is incredibly important, as we know a lot of long-term damage occurs when people are sicker with COVID-19. Being vaccinated helps keep people with COVID-19 out of hospitals, which protects our health care institutions for everyone.

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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.

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Yes! These vaccines are effective and have been shown to significantly reduce your risk of getting sick from COVID-19. The risk decreases within weeks of completing the vaccines; and this reduced risk is the same regardless of sex, race, age or weight.

But the first dose of either vaccine is only partially effective—that is why you need to get that second dose to reach that high effectiveness (90-95% efficacy) that has been reported.

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This is still being studied, but preliminary data from the Pfizer, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines looking at asymptomatic transmission of the virus (meaning have active virus that could be spread by having no symptoms) found that it was significant decreased in those who were vaccinated.

However, we do know that not everyone responds to these vaccines; and some vaccinated people still could get infected and not have symptoms. Those people can still spread the disease to others.

Bottom line: until we reach a point of “herd immunity” or get more data on this, you still need to wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands frequently to protect yourself and others.

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We’re not completely sure how well the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines work against the various new strains of SARS-CoV-2 that are being identified.  The clinical trials for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines pre-dated the emergence of these new strains.  The good news is that early information from Israel indicates that the Pfizer vaccine seems to be working against the UK mutant (B.1.1.7); but we still lack evidence about the South African or Brazilian variants. 

If it is found that the vaccines are much less effective against these variants, it may be necessary to have a booster vaccine (for example; this is something Moderna has discussed).

However, regardless of these new strains, the most effective way to beat all of them is with vaccinations to achieve herd immunity; and continuing to wear a mask and socially distance: no virus has successfully mutated to beat wearing a mask!

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