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Covid-19 Virus Vaccine Q&A with a Pediatrician

The Ultimate COVID-19 Vaccine Q&A

When it comes to COVID-19, it’s no surprise that most Americans have a LONG list of questions about the new virus vaccine. People are feeling MANY emotions – they’re anxious, apprehensive, curious, scared, and even excited at the idea of finally getting back to some semblance of normalcy.

But many people have expressed some fear. I’ve received many questions, including questions about the speed in which the vaccine was created, as well as the long-term effects of the new vaccination.

So today, I want to address the burning questions I’ve received recently about the new COVID-19 vaccine.

Your COVID-19 Vaccination Questions Answered

I just want to state that some of these answers are MY PERSONAL OPINION, but my responses are all backed by scientific evidence.

Visit the CDC’s website for their stance on many of these questions.

Let’s get started!

1. What are your thoughts on the vaccine? Are you getting it?

Yes, I plan to get the COVID-19 vaccine. I have complete confidence in our scientific community and the safety protocols in the trials for the new COVID-19 vaccine.

Since I am a healthcare provider working in the ER, I am at a higher risk of contracting the virus. I am excited there is a way to protect myself and help protect my family.

2. Scientists developed the vaccine so quickly, which scares a lot of people. What are your thoughts?

There’s no question that we’ve been able to create a vaccine for COVID-19 in record time.

Operation Warp Speed (OWS) has allowed for a public-private partnership of the scientific community and the government to facilitate and accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The amount of money and resources behind the vaccine is the main reason we were able to expedite the process and produce a vaccine so quickly.

It is important to understand that the safety protocols were NOT compromised through the process. The manpower and resources, not only within our country but around the world, have allowed for the process to occur faster.

3. I heard the vaccine uses a new technology. Can you explain what this new technology is?

Messenger RNA (mRNA) technology is new, but not unknown. We have been studying it for more than a decade.

So how do vaccinations work?

Historically, we’ve used small, miniature viral particles injected into our bodies to stimulate an immune response.

How does the coronavirus vaccination work?

With COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, the mRNA instructs your cells to make the coronavirus “spike protein” found on the surface of the virus. This spike protein then triggers an immune response without ever actually replicating the virus in your body.

4. How do we know what the long-term effects are of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Many people fear that since the vaccine has only been studied for a short time, we don’t know the long-term effects. However, when you look back at the history of vaccinations, usually adverse reactions occur within a very short time after the administration of the vaccine.

We do not see vaccine reactions occurring months or years after the administration of a vaccine.

Although the COVID-19 vaccination was created and studied over a short period of time, I don’t see that it’s going to be much different. The participants in the studies here in the United States and around the world were observed to ensure no adverse reactions for the timeframe in which reactions typically occur.

5. Should I wait for herd immunity?

Herd immunity only occurs when a large enough portion of the community becomes immune to the disease, either through infection or vaccination to make the spread of disease from person-to-person unlikely.

The percentage of people who need to be immune to create herd immunity is unknown, but we believe it is upwards of 60-70%.

With a population of 350 million people in the United States and not knowing people’s willingness to get the vaccine, I think it would be a long wait. I say protect yourself and your family against the virus. Get the vaccine when it is available to you.

6. Will there be a vaccine for kids?

I hope so!! They have started trials in the pediatric population. As of now, the trials only include children over the age of 12 years old.

But yes, I have high hopes that we will have a vaccine in the future for the pediatric population.

7. I’ve heard a lot about pregnant or breastfeeding women not being eligible for the vaccine. Is that true, and what are your thoughts?

Unfortunately, due to the nature of the study, clinical trials eliminated pregnant and breastfeeding women. Therefore, officials can’t say with certainty that pregnant women will be included in the distribution of vaccines as there is no information available on the effects in pregnant or breastfeeding women.

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive, discuss your concerns and possible desires to receive the vaccine with your OB/GYN.

8. Can you get sick or get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

No. Similar to the flu shot, you may have mild symptoms of the virus, but you cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

The most common side effects include fever, fatigue, headache, and arm pain.

9. Who is getting the vaccine first?

The CDC is recommending that healthcare providers and individuals over the age of 65 should get the vaccine first.

There’s actually a vaccine calculator to see you where you may stand in line by county (it’s totally NOT an official tool!)…Carrie is like 275 millionth in line. Ha!

10. Is this vaccine a multi-dose injection?

Yes. All but one of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in Phase 3 clinical trials in the United States need two shots to be effective. There is one other COVID-19 vaccine in trials that uses just one injection.

11. If I already had COVID-19, do I still need to get the virus vaccine?

Yes. Even if you previously had a COVID-19 infection, the CDC still recommends you be vaccinated against the virus.

We don’t know how long anyone has immunity from the virus after an active infection.

Also, some evidence shows that COVID-19 patients who were asymptomatic or had very mild symptoms may have less immunity than others with more pronounced symptoms.

12. Do I need to take extra precautions around family members after receiving the vaccination?

The CDC has not come out with any guidelines that have precautionary steps for individuals after getting the vaccine.

However, we still recommend people continue to wear masks, follow social distancing guidelines, and continue good hand washing habits after getting the vaccine.

13. If I get the vaccine, can I stop wearing a mask and following social distancing recommendations?

No. We are asking people to continue to practice safety measures even after getting the vaccine. The purpose of the vaccine is to ADD to our safety measures, NOT replace them.

Final Thoughts on the COVID-19 Virus Vaccine

Yes, the vaccine is new. And yes, it came about quickly.

But with the whole world working for a vaccine, things have happened more quickly than ever imagined. It’s truly a testament to what we can do if we work together and reject so many forces trying to divide us in this world!

If you still have questions about your eligibility for the vaccine, I urge you to speak with your healthcare provider. Get the facts! Together, you can come up with a plan that works for you and your family.

~Dr. Katie

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