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COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions

The COVID-19 vaccine is an important tool to help stop the ongoing pandemic, along with masking and physical distancing. However, the vaccine may not be recommended to those with certain health conditions. Talk to your health care provider if you have questions about receiving the vaccine.

Who should be vaccinated against COVID-19 infection?

Vaccination will be recommended for everyone, but supplies will be limited at first. Federal and state authorities call for health care personnel to be offered the vaccine in the first phase of the program, starting with hospital workers, emergency responders and long-term care staff.

The initial priority will be to vaccinate health care personnel who are at high occupational risk for exposure to COVID-19 and those working in roles that are essential to the COVID-19 response.

As availability improves, vaccines will be offered to all others in accordance with federal and state guidelines.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?

Yes. Many pharmaceutical companies invested significant resources into quickly developing a vaccine for COVID-19 because of the worldwide impact of the pandemic. The emergency situation warranted an emergency response but that does not mean that companies bypassed safety protocols or didn't perform adequate testing.

"The fast-track part were regulatory approvals, funding, data analysis and submission to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Those are all paperwork items. What was not fast-tracked was the enrollment of patients, clinical follow-up of these patients, capturing the events which occurred and the follow-up. These trials were executed very well."

What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Side effects are primarily headache, chills, fatigue, muscle pain or fever. These transient reactions, which indicate a person's immune system is responding to the vaccine, resolved without complication or injury in the studies.

How effective is the COVID-19 vaccination?

The Pfizer vaccine shows a 95% efficacy rate and the Moderna vaccine has a 94.1% efficacy rate.

How many doses does COVID-19 vaccination require?

With the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, two doses are given 21 days apart. The Moderna vaccine will have two doses given 28 days apart.

How long will a COVID-19 vaccination offer protection?

At this time, the Moderna vaccine offers immunity of at least three months. For the other vaccines, it is not yet known how long the COVID-19 vaccination will offer protection. Periodic boosters, such as with the annual flu shot, may or may not be needed.

Aren't masking, social distancing and self-quarantining reasonable alternatives to COVID-19 vaccination?

Given the extent of COVID-19 spread in the U.S., developing large-scale immunity in the community through vaccination is key to stopping the pandemic.

Everyone will need to continue to take precautions, such as masking and physical distancing until the spread has stopped.

Will persons who get the vaccine still have to wear a face mask?

Yes. While the vaccine is highly effective at preventing symptomatic and severe disease, it is not 100% effective. Everyone will need to continue taking precautions like masking and physical distancing until the spread has stopped.

Can people with an egg allergy receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

Neither the Pfizer/BioNTech nor the Moderna Inc. vaccine contain eggs. However, we recommend contacting your primary care provider to determine if you are a candidate for the vaccine.

The side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are identical to the virus itself. If people are vaccinated and develop side effects, would they have to be tested for COVID- 19?

Vaccine recipients will be provided with guidance on how to interpret side effects and what actions they should take following vaccination.

I recently tested positive for COVID-19. Is there a time period I should wait until I receive my vaccination?

The original guidance was to wait 90 days from the onset of COVID diagnosis. This was based on the assumption the vaccine would be limited and the COVID survivor would have antibodies for protection. However, the updated guidance is to wait 10 days from the onset of diagnosis. After this time period, it will be safe to receive the vaccine.

If we receive the COVID-19 vaccine, can we still be a carrier? If so, how long are we carriers?

We do not know the answer to whether a person can be an asymptomatic carrier after the vaccine. Studies have not been completed at this time to analyze this. In saying this, we are continuing to encourage best practices of hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, masking and proper social distancing.

I am a cancer survivor. Will choosing to take the COVID-19 vaccine compromise my staying in remission?

The COVID-19 vaccine will have no effect on your remission.

Which vaccine is being distributed/administered in Hancock County?

At the present time, the Pfizer vaccine is being used for long-term care and the Moderna vaccine is being used for healthcare and other community members.

What are the differences in roles of Hancock Public Health (HPH) and Blanchard Valley Health System (BVHS) concerning COVID-19 vaccine distribution?

Each county's individual public health department is managing appointments and registrations for the COVID-19 vaccine. As a regional health system, BVHS is helping the health departments distribute appropriate information to assist with sign-ups.

Additionally, Blanchard Valley Hospital and Bluffton Hospital are scheduled to be distribution sites of the vaccine. Please continue to watch Blanchard Valley's social media and website for updates regarding the COVID-19 vaccine clinics and availability. 

I signed up to receive the COVID-19 vaccine but I have not heard any additional information? Who should I contact?

Hancock Public Health (HPH) is managing the logistics with appointment times and registrations for the COVID-19 vaccine for community members. They are currently working through all enrollments. 

If you have questions regarding your appointment time and/or registration, please contact HPH at 419.424.7105.

If I receive both doses of the COVID-19 vaccination, will the protocol on social distancing, mask-wearing and group gatherings remain the same?

A person who receives the vaccine may, theoretically, still become infected with the virus and not show symptoms. We have no definite data this happens but, if it does, that carriage period should be no longer than the usual 10 days.

With this said, there is a concern that a vaccinated person may still become infected (without symptoms) and spread to others for those 10 days. Until we gather more information, proper social distancing, masking and handwashing are still highly recommended.

Information provided by Mayo Clinic's COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation and Distribution Workgroup