Yes! Currently there are two vaccines available under Emergency Use Authorizations from the Food and Drug Administration to protect against COVID-19. One of the vaccines is made by Pfizer-BioNTech and the other is made by Moderna.
A number of vaccines are being developed to protect against COVID-19. While the development of COVID-19 vaccines has proceeded rapidly to help save lives, none of the steps in place to test vaccines for safety have been skipped. Two of those vaccines, one from Pfizer and one from Moderna, tested their vaccines over 70,000 people altogether from many walks of life and ethnicities to make sure they were safe and effective. People enrolled in these studies, called clinical trials, were either given the real vaccine or a salt-water solution (placebo). After following the groups for a period of time, scientists were able to show that the groups that received real vaccine were protected against COVID-19. The two vaccines were around 95% effective at preventing COVID-19 without causing serious side effects.
It is possible to have an allergic reaction to any vaccine or medication including the COVID-19 vaccine. Serious allergic reactions from the COVID-19 vaccine are very rare but talk to your doctor before getting your vaccine if you have a history of severe allergic reactions.
Vaccination against COVID-19 will help to reduce the number of people sick with COVID-19, and it could help reduce the severity of illness even if people still get sick. Vaccination against COVID-19 will also help to reduce hospitalizations and death from the virus. If enough people become vaccinated against COVID-19, it will make it easier and safer for businesses and schools to stay open.
No, none of the vaccines that have been released or that are in development contain the virus that causes COVID-19. Many vaccines can cause a mild fever, tiredness and body or muscle aches but this is not the same as getting the virus. These symptoms are a sign that the vaccine has caused the immune response important for protection against disease.
Both of the vaccines currently available require 2 shots several weeks apart. It’s possible that future vaccines will only require one shot but scientists are still studying that.
Please see the Pfizer and Moderna Fact sheets on this website for information about side effects.
No, the main tests used for determining if a person is currently infected like the nose or mouth swab test will not become positive if you get the vaccine. A vaccinated person might test positive for antibodies. When antibodies to COVID-19 are found, it’s a sign that your body’s immune response to the vaccine worked and that you may have protection against COVID-19.
Early on there will only be enough vaccine to give to people who work in the highest risk jobs like hospital workers and those who live or work in high risk places like nursing homes. More and more vaccine is being made every day and the goal is to have enough for everyone who wants to be vaccinated. It may take into spring and summer of 2021 to vaccinate everyone who wants it. Riverside County is following State and Federal guidelines for determining the phases of vaccine distribution.
The Pfizer vaccine’s approval under Emergency Use Authorization allows for adolescents 16 years of age and older to receive the vaccine. Because children do not generally get as sick with COVID-19 as adults do, it’s likely that children will not be among the first people vaccinated. The Moderna vaccine is only approved under Emergency Use Authorization for people 18 years of age and older.
Yes. Until we know more about the level of protection from vaccines in real-world situations, facial coverings and social distancing will continue to be very important to prevent spread of the virus. Also, while the two current vaccines are very effective, no vaccine can protect 100% of people. Some people who get the vaccine will not generate an immune response so it will be important to continue wearing a face covering and practicing social distancing until we reach herd immunity from widespread vaccination.
No, the vaccines should be covered by public and private health insurance. For people without health insurance there will be no cost for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Most importantly, cover your face and mouth with a face covering whenever you’re around other people. This helps prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Always practice social distancing by keeping at least six feet from others when not in your own home and avoid people who are sick if you can. It’s also important to wash your hands frequently, particularly when you’re returning home after being out for essential activities like grocery shopping.
Yes! Both COVID-19 and the virus that causes flu will be spreading this winter. The Flu shot only protects you from the flu but it’s important to get your vaccine to avoid getting both COVID-19 and flu at the same time. Also, protecting against flu will help keep our hospitals more open to help people with COVID-19 as it spreads through the winter. The flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine may have to be given a few weeks apart so talk to your doctor about the timing of your flu vaccine.
For residents who received their first dose at one of our public health vaccine clinics, automatic emails will be sent when it is time to make an appointment for your second dose. You may make an appointment for a second dose at any location where you can secure a time, including at a doctor, pharmacy or urgent care clinic. The appointment does not have to be made precisely on the 21-day or 28-day mark. It can occur after, just not before.
Please note that if you received the Pfizer vaccine for your first dose, you must receive the Pfizer second dose. The same is true for the first Moderna vaccine. Check your vaccination card to see which vaccine you received. At the time of making your second appointment, inquire which vaccine is currently available.
As we receive more vaccine, we anticipate that the appointment process will continue to streamline as we bring on more community vaccination partners and hold more vaccination clinics. If you have any questions as the time nears for a second dose, just let us know and we will be happy to find answers for you.