Last week we asked our patients and members what they wanted to know about the new COVID-19 vaccines. Here are Chief Medical Director Dr. Janice Johnston's answers to your most frequently asked questions.
Q: Do I need the vaccine, if I already had tested positive in Nov?
A: Yes, even if you had covid in the past, the current thought is that your immunity will wear off over time. It’s important to get vaccinated whenever you are able to experience true immunity.
Q: Is a person who receives the COVID-19 vaccine still able to spread the disease to others?
A: The vaccine works by preparing your body to recognize the virus and be able to fight it if you are exposed by building antibodies against it.
Q: If one tests positive for coronavirus, should one still get the vaccine? Or should one wait for a negative test first?
A:You would need to make sure that you are outside of your quarantine period before getting vaccinated (10 days).
Q: When can I get the vaccine?
A: If you live in the state of Arizona you can check where you are on the list for vaccination here: Every state is different however, so be sure to ask your local doctor or check your state’s government website.
Q: Are there any supplements I should take if I have coronavirus or after I get my vaccine?
A: We believe that Vitamin C, D and Zinc can help boost your immune system.
Q: Are there any side effects I may experience?
A: Side Effects may include: pain at injection site in the arm (80%), fatigue (60%), headache (50%), body aches (20-30%), chills (30%) and fever (10%). However, these side effects are because your body is creating an immune response, not that you are sick. An active strain of the virus is not being given in this vaccine.
Q: Is the vaccine safe?
A: Yes, the Pfizer vaccine is a newly approved type of vaccine, called an mRNA vaccine. It works by giving the body instructions to make a small protein segment of the COVID virus, called the spike protein. Our immune system recognizes this as foreign and starts to make antibodies against it, so when/if we are exposed to the virus, our body is ready to fight it, so we don't get sick. It is not a live virus vaccine and will not give you COVID. It does not affect your DNA.
Q: How long is the vaccine supposed to last? (Will I need to get it annually like a flu shot?)
A: It is uncertain at this point. We are hoping that after you get your second dose you will not need another COVID-19 vaccine however because this is new virus and we are still learning it’s behaviors we cannot know for certain yet.
Q: Am I considered vaccinated after the first shot?
A: It has been shown through scientific study that increased immunity is only found after 2 doses for the COVID-19 vaccine. You are not considered vaccinated with one shot only.
Q: Is the vaccine safe for people with underlying medical conditions?
A: Yes. The only underlying condition that people need to be cautious with, is people that have had a anaphylaxis reaction to another vaccine or oral medication. We will monitor people for people 15 min after the vaccine has been administered to them as well.