With front-line workers receiving the first COVID-19 vaccinations, many of us are feeling hope, but also worry. As a result, we are joining with the Ad Council, the COVID Collaborative, HHS, CDC and NIAID (along with top health and medical organizations) to address your vaccine concerns and questions.
Will the vaccine be available to everyone in Nevada?
The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is collaborating with health systems about the use of initially available, limited supplies of COVID-19 vaccines. They will provide guidance on the prioritization order of who will receive the vaccine. This will be based on available quantities, high-risk locations of work and certain other risk factors, and recommendations and guidance for public health agencies. The CDC has provided guidance to initially focus on the following groups:
- Healthcare personnel likely to be exposed to or treat people with COVID-19, nursing home residents and others in institutional settings;
- People at risk for severe illness from COVID-19 due to underlying medical conditions;
- People 65 years of age and older;
- Other essential workers.
I worry the vaccine has been rushed
The U.S. national vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible, and because vaccines are given to millions of healthy people to prevent serious diseases, they’re held to very high safety standards.
COVID-19 vaccines are undergoing a rigorous development process that includes vaccinating tens of thousands of people who participate in a study to generate the needed clinical data. These clinical trials generate scientific data for the FDA to determine the safety and efficacy of each vaccine.
It’s worth noting that the clinical studies to establish the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines were as big and thorough as recent studies for other licensed vaccines (for example, the shingles vaccine).
I’m concerned about the vaccine’s side effects
The most common side effects are very similar to those seen with most vaccines, such as: sore arms, fevers, and tiredness within 72 hours after the vaccine. These side effects usually mean that the vaccine is generating an immune response, indicating it is working.
Short-term side effects observed in the leading COVID-19 vaccine trials include:
- Injection site pain and redness
- Muscle aches and pains
- Joint pain
I’m afraid I’ll get COVID-19 from the vaccine
None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines, or COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States, contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.
Can children receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
Not at the moment. In early clinical trials for various COVID-19 vaccines, only non-pregnant adults at least 18 years of age participated. However, clinical trials continue to expand those recruited to participate. The groups recommended to receive the vaccines could change in the future. As of now, it is recommended that children do not receive the vaccine. More information will be available from the vaccine manufacturers.
I do not believe vaccines are effective
Both this disease and the vaccine are new. We don’t know how long protection lasts for those who get infected or those who are vaccinated. What we do know is that COVID-19 has caused very serious illness and death for a lot of people. If you get COVID-19, you also risk giving it to loved ones who may get very sick. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a safer choice.
The FDA is responsible for making sure that, just like any other medications, any FDA-authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccines are safe and they work. The EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) will not be provided if the FDA feels that the vaccine is unsafe.
I can’t get vaccines to due to a medical condition
Adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19. mRNA COVID-19 vaccines may be administered to people with underlying medical conditions provided they have not had a severe allergic reaction to any of the ingredients in the vaccine. The following information aims to help people in the groups listed below make an informed decision about receiving the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.
It is extremely important to speak with your doctor regarding your specific medical condition, and always follow their strict advice regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, or any other vaccines.