COVID-19 Vaccine FAQS
Who Is the Vaccine For?
Is the vaccine safe for pregnancy?
Limited data on the COVID-19 vaccine suggests that the vaccine is safe in pregnancy.
Will I still need a vaccine even though I’ve already recovered from COVID-19?
Yes, you would still be advised to get the vaccine because the antibodies seem to last only 3-6 months following a COVID-19 infection. If you’ve gotten the COVID-19 virus before, it is generally recommended to wait three months after infection before getting the vaccine.
Who should not get the vaccine?
The only medical reason to withhold from getting the COVID-19 vaccine is a known severe allergic reaction to the vaccine or to any known ingredient in that vaccine. Those who are allergic to aspirin or have food allergies can still get the vaccine. Those with asthma or those with prior immune issues can get the vaccine as well. Prior Guillain-Barre Syndrome can be tricky and should be discussed with your physician. Because COVID-19 can be severe, the benefits will typically outweigh the risks for most patients, but please consult with your physician for your specific situation.
I have heard that those on blood thinners may be at risk if getting the vaccine. Any truth? Other than being 69, he has no other risk factors.
Being on blood thinners does not put one at risk to get the vaccine. Getting the COVID-19 disease puts one at risk for blood clots.
Will my primary care provider look at my prescription list to be sure my medications won’t interact with the vaccine? Which one is better?
All three COVID-19 vaccines do not interact with any medications. They are highly effective, which is why we encourage you to take advantage of any vaccine you can get.
I am allergic to Z-Pak (Azithromycin), and I break out in hives. Is it safe for me to get the vaccine?
It is safe to take regardless of one’s prior allergies to medications or other vaccines. The only allergy-related reason to withhold from getting the vaccine is if one has had an allergic reaction to any ingredient in that particular vaccine. In order to monitor for severe reactions, all patients will be monitored for 15 minutes after they receive a vaccine. For those with a history of severe allergic reactions of any type, monitoring for 30 minutes will be advised.
I live with an immunosuppressed organ transplant patient. Do I qualify for the vaccine in the “underlying conditions” category since I’m trying to protect him?
The person living with someone who has had an organ transplant does not qualify that person under the underlying conditions group. The good news is the vaccines will be readily available in the upcoming months for the general population.
When can my children get the vaccine?
The Pfizer vaccine is currently authorized by the FDA for ages 16 and up. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for ages 18 and up. We anticipate that the FDA will issue an Emergency Use Authorization for adolescents by the time the 2021-2022 school year starts.
How Can I Get The COVID-19 Vaccine?
How can I sign up for the vaccine and is there a waitlist?
There is not a way to sign up for the vaccine at Village Health Partners and we do not have a waitlist yet. We are currently developing a plan for how we will administer the vaccine, as we also wait to learn when we will receive the vaccine from the state. The top tiers for prioritization are healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents. Please note we encourage you to get the vaccine wherever you can, whether it’s at Village Health Partners, CVS, Kroger, or another entity.
Will I be able to get the second dose at Village Health Partners?
Maybe. We don’t know which vaccine we will be receiving. For Pfizer and Moderna, please note that you must receive the same vaccine for the second dose that you received for your first dose. You do not have to get your second dose at the same place you received your first dose, but we do encourage it.
- Village Health Partners employees can get a second dose here if they are unable to get their second shot at the place where they received their first.
Where do I fit in the prioritization lists, especially if I have an underlying illness?
As stated by the CDC, to keep the healthcare system afloat we must tend to the most vulnerable population first which includes hospital employees, frontline workers, and first responders in order to keep the healthcare community functioning. Next, the CDC recommends other vulnerable populations like nursing homes, as well as adults over 65 years old and adults with specific chronic health conditions. The list of adults at increased risk can be found on the CDC website. Please keep in mind these are just recommendations from the CDC and further decisions will still be made by each state.
Can I preregister for the vaccine?
At this time, there is no registration form or sign-up form for the vaccine at Village Health Partners.
Do I need to wait for Village Health Partners to have the vaccine? Or am I able to get it somewhere else if I meet the criteria?
If you are able to receive the vaccine now and you would like to go ahead and get it, we encourage you to visit the Texas Department of State Health Services website to see which medical offices offer the vaccine.
How frequently will we need to get this vaccine?
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one dose. The need to receive a booster shot in the future remains unknown at this time.
Will this be an annual vaccine like the flu shot?
We predict that this will not be an annual vaccine. The COVID-19 virus does not mutate rapidly like the seasonal flu virus. We do suspect that booster shots could be a possibility in the future. With more time and data on the current vaccines, we will be able to determine if booster shots are necessary.
What’s Next After Being Vaccinated?
Will I need to wear a mask after I get the vaccine?
You may still need to wear a mask for a short period of time. It could take another year until we reach a sense of normalcy, or the time frame could be much shorter. It really depends on how soon 70-80% of the population gets vaccinated in order for us to achieve herd immunity to discontinue wearing masks.
Can you still be a carrier of COVID-19 and give it to someone even after getting the vaccine?
We do not yet know if one can be a carrier of COVID-19 and transmit it to another person after getting the vaccine.
I have read that potential long-term effects of the vaccine would show up within a few months, which has already passed for the trial participants. So more than likely, long-term side effects would be rare or there should be little concern. Is this true?
We do not know about long-term side effects with the current vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. We do know the trials have been going on for over a half-year and side effects are extremely minimal at this time.
What should I do if I am diagnosed with COVID-19 between getting my first and second dose? Is the second dose still needed?
Once you have recovered from your COVID-19 infection and are able to discontinue home isolation, you should proceed with getting your second dose. It is okay if the administration of your second dose is delayed, just make sure that you do still get it.
Does the COVID-19 Vaccine alter my DNA?
No. COVID-19 vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way.
How do I report a problem or possible side effect to a COVID-19 vaccine?
If you experience any unanticipated side effects after the vaccine, you should inform your Primary Care Provider. You can also learn how to enroll in V-Safe by clicking here. This CDC smartphone-based tool provides automated check-ins after the COVID-19 vaccination, allowing people to report side effects using a secure online site. In addition to collecting this information, v-safe will also send reminders about receiving the second vaccine.
How Effective Is the Vaccine?
What are the chances of getting COVID-19 even after getting the shot?
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has an overall 66% efficacy rate and is 86% effective at preventing hospitalizations or death. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have about a 95% efficacy rate. Please remember that it takes two weeks after receiving your final dose to achieve immunity.
Do the currently available COVID Vaccines protect me against new variants that are being found?
Currently, there is limited information on how effective the mRNA vaccines will be against emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2 since the clinical trials for both Pfizer and Moderna proceeded the identification of the major variants now present. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine showed roughly the same efficacy in all regions and countries, even those that had a high percentage of variants present. We anticipate more information to be released as these variants are studied further.
How long does protection from a COVID-19 vaccine last?
The latest data suggest at least six months but we will know more as time goes by.
Vaccine Timing and Process.
When will Village Health Partners have the vaccine?
We hope to have this soon! We are working with state authorities to receive the vaccine and do not have a timeline yet.
What do the different phases mean?
- Patient-facing hospital employees
- Long-term care staff working with residents
- Long-term care residents
- EMS providers
- Home healthcare workers
- Patient-facing outpatient care employees
- Freestanding emergency medical care employees
- Public health and emergency response employees
- Last responders who provide mortuary or death services
- School nurses
-People 65 years of age and older
-People 16 years of age and older with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19, such as but not limited to:
- Chronic kidney disease
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
- Solid organ transplantation
- Obesity and severe obesity (body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or higher)
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus
Please reference the various PDFs found on the right column of this website: https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/immunize/vaccine.aspx
Based on what we know at this time, adults of any age with the following conditions might be at an increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19:
- Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
- Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
- Cystic fibrosis
- Hypertension or high blood pressure
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
- Neurologic conditions, such as dementia
- Liver disease
- Overweight (BMI > 25 kg/m2, but < 30 kg/m2)
- Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
- Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)
- Type 1 diabetes mellitus
Please reference this information on the CDC’s website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html
Johnson & Johnson Vaccine
Who is this vaccine for?
This vaccine is intended for anyone 18 years of age and older who has not received the COVID-19 vaccine. Those who have had an allergic reaction to any active ingredient in this vaccine should not get it. The most common allergic ingredient is called “polysorbate”.
Is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine safe?
Yes. This viral vector that is in the vaccine will NOT cause COVID-19, and it cannot replicate in your body.
What are the adverse effects associated with this vaccine?
Fever, chills, headache, nausea, local pain injection. Severe side effects are very rare.
How well does the Johnson & Johnson vaccine work?
This is a single-dose vaccine that is 66% effective overall, and 86% effective at preventing hospitalizations or death.
What were the findings from clinical trials?
The clinical trials included 22,000 people. After four weeks of receiving this vaccine, there were zero hospitalizations in clinical trials!
Why should I get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?
This vaccine is only one dose, is highly effective, and there’s no need to quarantine at home for two weeks.
What Else Do I Need to Know?
There are multiple vaccines now available, which one should I get?
How much will the vaccine cost and will insurance cover this?
Per the CDC, it sounds like the vaccine may be covered. More information will come on these details in the future.
How many people need to be vaccinated before we reach herd immunity?
The proportion of the population that must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to begin inducing herd immunity is not known. This is an important area of research and will likely vary according to the community, the vaccine, and other factors. Herd immunity is generally considered to be achieved when 75-80% of a population is immune (either through vaccination or infection).
Should I take any medications before I get the vaccine to prevent post-vaccination symptoms?
Although drugs like Acetaminophen or NSAID’s could decrease subjective side effects, theoretically they could also blunt the immune response and make the vaccines less effective — hence they are not recommended before vaccination. They are useful, however, in diminishing side effects once they occur. Acetaminophen is preferred for pregnant individuals.
My parents are not U.S. citizens and are here on a travel visa. Will they be able to get this vaccine?
Those on a travel visa will need to call a vaccine provider to see if they are able to receive the vaccine.
What do I need to do if I get the vaccine outside of VHP?
Please hold on to your proof of immunization card. We will collect this information from you at your next appointment.
Stay tuned for more updates in the coming weeks as more information develops on the COVID-19 vaccine!