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Covid Vaccinations - Frequently Asked Questions:

The state included Falls Community Hospital & Clinic in its program to vaccinate a large number of our county’s most vulnerable members. As the only site in Falls County, we organized a vaccination event for Wednesday, January 20th to vaccinate as many people as possible in one day. To do this, we ask for people in the community who are 65 and older to call 254-252-2667. We hope to continue receiving vaccine from the state so that we can continue our outreach to Falls County.

Unfortunately, we could not accommodate everyone who filled out the form due to the limited supply of the vaccine. We will notify the community if we get more vaccines and are able to reopen registration.

The FDA issued an EUA for the Pfizer vaccine on Friday, Dec. 11. In an emergency, like a pandemic, the FDA can make a judgment that it’s worth releasing something for use even without the typical timeline for a new vaccine or drug. According to a press release issued by the FDA, the FDA determined that Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine met the statutory criteria for issuance of an EUA. The totality of the available data provides clear evidence that Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine may be effective in preventing COVID-19. The data also support that the known and potential benefits outweigh the known and potential risks, supporting the vaccine’s use in millions of people 16 years of age and older, including healthy individuals. In making this determination, the FDA can assure the public and medical community that it has conducted a thorough evaluation of the available safety, effectiveness and manufacturing quality information.

Before the FDA granted Emergency Use Authorization, the safety and efficacy of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was reviewed by panels of independent experts retained by the companies; by FDA scientific staff; and by an independent panel of experts convened by the FDA. There are no reported serious safety concerns from this vaccine. The CDC and the FDA will continue to monitor individuals who have received the vaccine to ensure there’s no evidence of even rare safety issues.

Please also keep in mind that COVID-19 can be a fatal or debilitating disease, even in young healthy people. The risks from contracting the virus are greater than the possible risks from receiving the vaccine.

No. It is not possible to get COVID-19 from vaccines. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use only a gene from the virus while other vaccines being studied use inactivated virus. None of these can cause COVID-19.

While both are mRNA vaccines, there are several differences between the two: 

  • The two vaccines have different age requirements. You must be at least 18 years old to receive the Moderna vaccine and at least 16 years old to receive the Pfizer vaccine. 
  • The waiting period between the two vaccines is different. You must wait 21 days between your first and second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, and 28 days between doses for the Moderna vaccine.
  • The Pfizer vaccine requires a much colder storage than the Moderna vaccine. 

For questions specific to the Pfizer vaccine click here, and for questions specific to the Moderna vaccine click here.

Both vaccines have shown to be very effective at preventing COVID-19 infection. The Pfizer vaccine has shown to be 95% effective across all age, racial and ethnic groups. The Moderna vaccine has shown to be 94.1% effective across all racial and ethnic groups, but this number did appear to be a little lower among those 65 years of age or older.

No. Supplies are still too limited to allow you to choose between the two vaccines. You will be given the vaccine that we have available at the time you are vaccinated.

No. You must receive the related second dose for the vaccine to work appropriately. You cannot interchange the two vaccines as they are not exactly the same.

Please seek medical attention immediately by calling your doctor’s office or setting up a virtual visit if you experience severe side effects.

Clinical trials indicate that the Pfizer vaccine is 95% effective and the Moderna vaccine is 94% effective, both with minimal side effects, so we recommend that you get the vaccine as soon as it is offered to you to help contain the spread of COVID-19. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are effective, and we would not recommend one over the other or waiting until other vaccines currently in the pipeline have been approved. There are also no guarantees that any of the other vaccines will be made available to us in the near future. We advise you to take the vaccine that’s made available to you and not to wait.

Both Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines are mRNA vaccines, and AstraZeneca’s and Johnson & Johnson’s are non-replicating vectored vaccines. None of the early vaccines being tested are live weakened versions of the virus. When vaccines are licensed, part of the information that will be provided will include who should or should not get each vaccine. We recommend talking with your health care provider to determine which vaccine will be the best one for you, given your medical history.

Yes. While individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 do produce antibodies, the antibody levels and how long they last are not known. In addition, while natural infection does induce immunity, it induces less of an antibody response than the vaccine. The antibody response to the vaccine is dramatically higher than it is to natural infection. We are seeing reinfection among people who have already been infected with COVID-19, so the vaccine should provide additional protection against reinfection. 

We are studying this now and we don’t think this will be an annual vaccine, but we are not sure yet. We will let you know as soon we know. 

Yes. We should continue wearing masks, practicing excellent hand hygiene and social distancing until enough vaccine is manufactured and distributed, until we know how long a vaccine will protect us, and until our community shows levels of minimal spread. 

You should consider the level of COVID-19 community transmission; your personal risk of contracting COVID-19; the risks of COVID-19 to you and potential risks to the fetus; the efficacy of the vaccine; the known side effects of the vaccine; and the lack of data about the vaccine during pregnancy. We recommend that you reach out to your health care provider to help you make an informed decision. 

There is no data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in lactating women or the effects of mRNA vaccines on the breastfed infant or milk production. According to the CDC, mRNA vaccines are not live virus vaccines and are not thought to be a risk to the breastfeeding infant. If a lactating woman is part of a group that is recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, she may choose to be vaccinated. We recommend that you reach out to your health care provider to help you make an informed decision. 

Unless you develop a contraindication to the vaccination, you should complete the series even if you develop the expected post-vaccination symptoms in order to optimize protection against COVID-19, according to the CDC. Of note, more people experienced these side effects after the second dose than after the first dose, so it is important for vaccination providers and recipients to expect that there may be some side effects after either dose, but even more so after the second dose

According to the CDC, it will take approximately one to two weeks following the second dose to be considered fully vaccinated.

No. People who have had a severe allergic reaction to any vaccine should not receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at this time.

Yes. Vaccine providers will observe patients after administering the vaccination to monitor for immediate adverse reactions. People with a history of anaphylaxis will be monitored for 30 minutes, and everyone else receiving the vaccine will be monitored for side effects for 15 minutes.

There is currently not enough data available to establish the vaccine’s safety and efficacy for immunocompromised people. People with HIV infection, other immunocompromising conditions, or people who take immunosuppressive medications or therapies might be at increased risk for severe COVID-19. These individuals may still receive the COVID-19 vaccine unless otherwise contraindicated. We recommend that you reach out to your health care provider to help you make an informed decision.

According to the CDC, you should consider the unknown vaccine safety and efficacy profiles in immunocompromised people, the potential for reduced immune responses, and the risks of becoming ill with COVID-19, as well as the need to continue to follow all current guidance to protect yourself against COVID-19.

The vaccination should be deferred until the person recovers from an acute illness (if the person had symptoms) and has met the criteria to discontinue isolation. There is no minimum interval between infection and vaccination. However, current evidence suggests reinfection is uncommon within 90 days after initial infection, so people with documented acute infection may defer vaccination until the end of 
that period.

There is no data on the safety or efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccination in people who received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma as part of COVID-19 treatment. According to the CDC, the vaccination should be deferred for at least 90 days to avoid interference of the treatment with 
vaccine-induced immune responses.

Yes. The vaccine may be administered to people with underlying medical conditions who have no contraindications to vaccination. Phase II and phase III clinical trials demonstrated similar safety and efficacy profiles in people with underlying medical conditions, including those that place them at increased risk for severe COVID-19, compared to people without comorbidities.

No, it is not recommended at this time due to a lack of information on the impact of use on vaccine-induced antibody responses. Antipyretic or analgesic may be taken for treatment of post-vaccination symptoms.