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Vaccine Information

You and the COVID-19 vaccine.

You may have questions about the COVID-19 vaccines. Below, find trusted and updated resources regarding distribution, expectations, and efficacy of the vaccines.

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Vaccine Information

You and the COVID-19 vaccine.

You may have questions about the COVID-19 vaccines. Below, find trusted and updated resources regarding distribution, expectations, and efficacy of the vaccines.

FAQ
COVID-19 newsroom
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You and the COVID-19 vaccine:
Frequently Asked Questions

 

Vaccine development, efficacy, and distribution

Yes. Before the FDA determined whether to approve and authorize the COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use, clinical trials were conducted to determine effectiveness of each vaccine. The vaccines will continue to be studied to determine how well it works under real-world conditions, even after authorization. Effectiveness will further be assessed through the CDC and other federal partners. For more information on clinical trials and how they are used to determine approval of vaccines, you can read Ensuring COVID-19 Vaccines Work from the CDC.

You can find more data on Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials from the Advisory Committee Immunization Practices (ACIP) on the CDC website and the FDA briefing. Additionally, Moderna has published an informational fact sheet for recipients and caregivers.

You can find more data on the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials from the Advisory Committee Immunization Practices (ACIP) on the CDC website and the FDA briefing. Additionally, Pfizer has published an informational fact sheet for recipients and caregivers.

Source: CDC: Ensuring COVID-19 Vaccines Work

There are two vaccines that are currently authorized and recommended to prevent COVID-19:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
  • Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine

There are multiple COVID-19 vaccines still under development. Phase 3 clinical trials are in progress or are being planned for two additional COVID-19 vaccines in the United States.

Source: CDC: Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination

Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine is a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine. mRNA vaccines do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19 and it cannot give someone COVID-19. mRNA vaccines enable cells in the body to make a spike protein that triggers an immune response that produces antibodies. These antibodies are what protect individuals from getting infected by the actual virus.

Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine is given in the upper arm muscle as a series of 2 shots, 28 days (one month) apart. It is recommended for people aged 18 years and older.

Most common side effects are pain, swelling, and redness in the location of vaccination as well as chills, tiredness, and headache. Side effects can start within a day of receiving the vaccine and could feel like flu symptoms but should subside within a few days. For more information on side effects, see “What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?” below.

For more information, Moderna has published a fact sheet for recipients and caregivers.

Source: CDC: Information about the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, CDC: Understanding mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine. mRNA vaccines do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19 and it cannot give someone COVID-19. mRNA vaccines enable cells in the body to make a spike protein that triggers an immune response that produces antibodies. These antibodies are what protect individuals from getting infected by the actual virus.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is given in the upper arm muscle as a series of 2 shots, 21 days apart. It is recommended for people aged 16 years and older.

Most common side effects are pain, swelling, and redness in the location of vaccination as well as chills, tiredness, and headache. Side effects can start within a day of receiving the vaccine and could feel like flu symptoms but should subside within a few days. For more information on side effects, see “What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?” below.

For more information, Pfizer-BioNTech has published a fact sheet for recipients and caregivers.

Source: CDC- Information about the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, Understanding mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines

When infected with a virus, the immune system fights the infection using white or immune cells that are found in our blood. There are different types of white blood cells, such as macrophages, B-lymphocytes, and T-lymphocytes, that all help fight infection. The first time a person is infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, it can take several days or weeks for their immune system to get over the infection. However, the immune system will remember how to protect the body against that disease in the future. After infection, T-lymphocytes, or memory cells, remain in the body and will quickly go into action if the body were to encounter the same virus again. When the antigens of the familiar virus are detected, B-lymphocytes produce antibodies to attack them.

The COVID-19 vaccines assist in developing immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 without actually having to get the illness. While there are different types of vaccines that work in different ways to offer protection, all vaccines leave the body with a supply of “memory” T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight against that virus in the future.

Source: CDC: Understanding How COVID-19 Vaccines Work

No. The COVID-19 vaccines are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. mRNA vaccines do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19 and it cannot give someone COVID-19.

Source: CDC: Understanding How COVID-19 Vaccines Work

For the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, vaccination is a 2 shot series, 28 days (one month) apart.
For the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, vaccination is a 2 shot series, 21 days apart.

Source: CDC: Information about the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, CDC: Information about the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine

COVID-19 vaccine doses that have been purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be given at no cost.
Vaccination providers can charge an administration fee for administering the shot to someone. This vaccine administration fee can be reimbursed by patients’ public or private insurance companies or by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund for uninsured patients.

Source: CDC: Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination

Yes. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and possibility for reinfection, the vaccine should be offered even if you already had COVID-19. You are not required to have an antibody test before being vaccinated.

Currently, it is not known how long protection will last after recovering from COVID-19. Natural immunity, immunity that is gained from having an infection, varies by person and early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long.

Anyone currently infected with COVID-19 should wait to receive the vaccine until after their illness has resolved and after they no longer have to isolate.

Source: CDC: Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines

Due to demand of the vaccine, state and local governments are managing access and distribution points primarily to ensure the most vulnerable populations have priority. At some point soon, vaccines will have broader distribution points, including primary care physicians and perhaps other medical specialties such as pediatrics and obstetrics and gynecology. In order to optimize distribution, state government requires practices to register in order to receive and begin vaccinations. It is expected that most TopLine MD Alliance affiliated practices will be able to provide the vaccine once available.

While the CDC continues to provides recommendations on who should have access to the COVID-19 vaccine first, each state has its own plan on deciding who will be vaccinated first and how they will be able to access the vaccines. Your local health department will be able to provide more information on COVID-19 vaccination in your area.

During public health emergencies, like the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, there is often an urgent need for products to diagnose, treat, or prevent a medical threat. In cases of these emergencies, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can issue an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) that provides more timely access to drugs, diagnostic testing, or other critical medical products, like vaccines, when there are no available options.

EUA does not require emergency products to follow the full approval process as there may not be available time to gather enough evidence for full FDA approval. Under EUA, the FDA quickly evaluates options using available evidence to balance any known risks and potential benefits of releasing the product to the public during the emergency.

Source: FDA: Emergency Use Authorization

Recommendations on Getting Vaccinated

Yes. After receiving authorization from the FDA, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) reviews each vaccine’s available data and clinical trial information before making recommendations. They consider:

  • Who receives each vaccine (age, race, ethnicity, underlying medical conditions)
  • How different groups respond to the vaccine
  • Side effects of each vaccine

After considering the above, the ACIP votes on whether to recommend the vaccine and who should be offered a COVID-19 vaccine first when supplies are limited.
For more information on how recommendations are determined, see “When access to vaccines is limited, how are recommendations determined?” below.

Source: CDC: How CDC is Making COVID-19 Vaccine Recommendations

The CDC continues to provide recommendations to federal, state, and local governments about who should be vaccinated first due to the U.S.’s limited supply of the COVID-19 vaccine. Recommendations from the CDC are based on the ACIP’s recommendations and are made with goals in mind:

  • Decreasing death and serious disease as much as possible
  • Preserve functioning of society
  • Reducing the extra burden COVID-19 is having on people already facing disparities

While the CDC makes recommendations on who should have access to the COVID-19 vaccine first, each state has its own plan on deciding who will be vaccinated first and how they will be able to access the vaccines. Your local health department will be able to provide more information on COVID-19 vaccination in your area.

Source: CDC: When Vaccine is Limited, Who Should Get Vaccinated First?

On December 3, 2020, the CDC recommended that healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents should be offered the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines (Phase 1a).
On December 22, 2020, the CDC recommended additional groups of people to be offered vaccination (Phase 1b and Phase 1c):
Phase 1b (Eligible as of December 22, 2020)

  • Frontline essential workers including fire fighters, police officers, corrections officers, food and agricultural workers, United States Postal Service workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, and those who work in the educational sector such as teachers, support staff, and daycare workers.
  • People aged 75 years and older because of high risk of hospitalization, illness, and death from COVID-19. If also long-term care facility residents, they should be offered vaccination in Phase 1a.

Phase 1c (People aged 65-74 and people aged 16-64 with underlying medical conditions are eligible as of January 12, 2021)

  • People aged 65-74 years because they are at high risk of hospitalization, illness, and death from COVID-19. If also long-term care facility residents, they should be offered vaccination in Phase 1a.
  • People aged 16-64 years with underlying medical conditions that can increase the risk of serious, life-threatening complications from COVID-19.
  • Other essential workers including people who work in transportation and logistics, food service, housing construction and finance, information technology, communications, energy, law, media, public safety, and public health.

For more information on the phased allocation for COVID-19 vaccines, you can view a presentation published by the CDC.

Source: CDC: When Vaccine is Limited, Who Should Get Vaccinated First?

There are recommendations for people who have had allergic reactions to other vaccines. If you have had allergic reactions to a vaccine for another disease, regardless of severity, you should ask your TopLine MD affiliated physician if you should receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Your physician will help you with deciding if the COVID-19 vaccine is safe for you.

Source: CDC: Vaccines and Allergic Reactions

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that people who are part of the recommended groups (see “Who is recommended to get the COVID-19 vaccine?”) and women who are pregnant can choose to be vaccinated. As the COVID-19 vaccines do not contain live virus, experts believe the vaccines are likely to be safe when used during pregnancy, based on what is known about how the vaccines are made. However, since there has been no testing with the COVID-19 vaccines and women who are pregnant, researchers are not aware of any known risks.

There is data that shows pregnant people with COVID-19 have an increased risk of severe illness. Pregnant women with COVID-19 may also be at an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcome, such as preterm birth, when compared with pregnant women without COVID-19. If you are pregnant and have questions on receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, talk with your TopLine MD affiliated obstetrician-gynecologist (ob-gyn) or provider to help you make an informed decision. Your providers can discuss your risk of getting COVID-19 and assess risks for severe illness if you were to get sick.

For more information, you can read Vaccination Considerations for People who are Pregnant or Breastfeeding from the CDC. For general information on COVID-19 vaccines, read How do we know the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective? One expert explains from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG)

Source: ACOG: Coronavirus (COVID-19), Pregnancy, and Breastfeeding: A Message for Patients, ACOG: How do we know the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective? One expert explains, CDC: COVID-19 Vaccines and Allergic Reactions, CDC: Vaccination Considerations for People who are Pregnant or Breastfeeding

Yes. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that breastfeeding women receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Because the COVID-19 vaccine does not contain live virus, mRNA vaccines are not thought to be a risk to breastfeeding infants or on milk production/excretion. The CDC recommends that people who are breastfeeding can choose to be vaccinated.

Source: ACOG: Coronavirus (COVID-19), Pregnancy, and Breastfeeding: A Message for Patients, CDC: Vaccination Considerations for People who are Pregnant or Breastfeeding

Expectations After Getting Vaccinated

After receiving the vaccine, vaccination sites have a recovery section where people are asked to wait 15 minutes for additional monitoring.
You may experience some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is working to build protection against COVID-19. While these side effects may impact certain daily activities, they should go away in just a few days.

With the COVID-19 vaccines, you will need 2 shots in order for them to be effective. Even if you experience side effects from the first shot, you should still receive the second shot or dose, unless you are instructed by your physician to not receive the second shot. COVID-19 vaccines that require 2 shots may not provide protection for up to two weeks after you receive your second shot. After any vaccination, it takes time for the body to build protection.

For more information on side effects, you can print out this handout from the CDC What to Expect after Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine- Handout and see “What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine” below.

Source: CDC: What to Expect after Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine

Pain and swelling on the arm that you received the COVID-19 vaccine shot are common side effects as well as fever, chills, tiredness, and headache.
If you are experiencing pain or discomfort, talk to your TopLine MD affiliated physician about using over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, to help manage. You can also try other methods to alleviate pain from the vaccination site by applying a (clean) cool, wet washcloth or exercising the arm. To help reduce discomfort from fever, you should ensure you drink plenty of water or fluids and dress lightly.

Source: CDC: What to Expect after Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine

Most cases of discomfort from fever or pain from the vaccination site are normal and to be expected after receiving the vaccine. If the redness or tenderness where you received the vaccine increases after 24 hours and/or if your side effects do not appear to be subsiding after a few days, you should contact your TopLine MD affiliated physician. If you do not have a primary care physician, it is important to consider selecting a primary provider when seeking routine care or annual exams.

If you think you are having a severe allergic reaction after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and have left the vaccination site, seek immediate medical attention by calling 911.

For more information on allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine, see “What do I do if I have an allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine?”

Source: CDC: What to Expect after Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine

There are two types of allergic reactions: a non-severe allergic reaction and a severe allergic reaction.

For non-severe allergic reactions, you may experience hives, swelling, and wheezing (respiratory distress) within 4 hours of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. This is also known as an immediate allergic reaction. If you have experienced an immediate allergic reaction to any ingredients found in an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of severity, the CDC recommends that you should not get either of the available mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. If you experience an immediate allergic reaction after receiving the first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, you should not receive the second dose. You can discuss your options further with your TopLine MD affiliated physician who may refer you to an allergist and immunologist.

For severe allergic reactions, there are reports that some people have experienced anaphylaxis after they received the COVID-19 vaccine. An allergic reaction is considered to be severe when a person needs to be treated with epinephrine or if they must seek immediate medical attention at a hospital. If you have experienced a severe allergic reaction to any ingredients found in an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, you should not get either of the available mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. If you experience a severe allergic reaction after receiving the first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, you should not receive the second dose. You can discuss your options further with your TopLine MD affiliated physician who may refer you to an allergist and immunologist.

Source: CDC: COVID-19 Vaccines and Allergic Reactions

If you have experienced an immediate or severe allergic reaction to any ingredient that is found in an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, you should not get either of the available mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. If you had an immediate or severe allergic reaction after receiving the first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, you should not receive the second dose. You can discuss your options further with your TopLine MD affiliated physician who can provide additional guidance or care. If you do not have a primary care physician, it is important to consider selecting a primary provider when seeking routine care or annual exams.

If you have experienced a severe allergic reaction after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, you may consider seeking immediate medical attention by going to the hospital or calling 911 if you have already left the vaccination site. You should let your vaccination provider know about your severe allergic reaction and they will send a report to the Vaccine Adverse Even Reporting System (VAERS), a national system that collects reports on the adverse events that happen after vaccination.

Source: CDC: COVID-19 Vaccines and Allergic Reactions

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Official guidance from local and national authorities

There are numerous resources available from the CDC, the Florida Department of Health, and local authorities. The Florida Department of Health has a dedicated call center for any questions related to COVID-19 that is available 24/7. You can call 1-866-779-6121 or send an email to COVID-19@FLHealth.gov. Email response rate is 1-2 hours, and clinical questions will be answered by a clinical professional.

Official guidance from local and national authorities

There are numerous resources available from the CDC, the Florida Department of Health, and local authorities. The Florida Department of Health has a dedicated call center for any questions related to COVID-19 that is available 24/7. You can call 1-866-779-6121 or send an email to COVID-19@FLHealth.gov. Email response rate is 1-2 hours, and clinical questions will be answered by a clinical professional.

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