Monday, January 4, 2021

COVID Vaccine News

Still have questions about the COVID 19 vaccine? Here are some helpful answers to questions you may be having, or questions that people in your life maybe be asking. Know that the developments around the vaccines change daily, especially with the different stages of approval, distribution and availability. 

1. The safety of COVID-19 vaccines is a top priority.
The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible. While the vaccine was developed faster than normal, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would not have granted approval if it wasn’t as safe as other vaccines that may have taken longer to develop.

2. COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you.
Two doses are needed. You need two doses of the currently available COVID-19 vaccine. A second shot three weeks after your first shot is necessary in order for you to get the most protection the vaccine has to offer against this serious disease.

3. When and where will I get the vaccine?
Right now, the COVID-19 vaccine is being offered to healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities. We expect essential workers to be in the next phase. Hormel Foods will be working with local and state healthcare officials on vaccine availability and will let you know about timing as soon as we know. The supply will increase in the weeks and months to come. It is expected that anyone who wants to get a vaccine will be able to get one by summer. The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as large enough quantities are available. Once the vaccine is widely available, the plan is to have several thousand vaccination providers offering COVID-19 vaccines in doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals and federally qualified health centers.

4. What about side effects?
After COVID-19 vaccination, you may have some side effects. This is a normal sign that your body is building protection and the vaccine is working! The side effects from COVID-19 vaccination may vary from a sore arm to mild flu-like symptoms. Nothing that we can’t handle!

5. How much will it cost?
Cost is not an obstacle to getting vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be given to the American people at no cost.

6. Is there only one vaccine available?
Currently, there are two vaccines that have been authorized for use. The vaccines developed by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna are currently being used. Both offer excellent results. If more COVID-19 vaccines are authorized or approved by the FDA, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will quickly hold public meetings to review all available data about eachvaccine and make recommendations for their use in the United States.

7. Will we be able to get back to normal after the vaccine is widely available?
COVID-19 vaccines are one of many important tools to help us stop this pandemic. It’s important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic as we learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions. Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others, stay at least 6 feet away from others, avoid crowds and wash your hands often.

8. Should everyone get the vaccine?
All people who are able to do so should get the COVID-19 vaccine. We know that the best way to get back to normal is to take the vaccine so the spread of COVID-19 can be stopped. Only through large numbers of people being vaccinated can we accomplish eliminating the virus from our communities. Additionally, while some people have mild symptoms from COVID-19, others have more severe reactions, including serious long-term health issues and even death. People don’t know how COVID-19 will affect their bodies until they get it. The vaccine is the top defense to keep you and your family safe.

9. If I’ve had COVID-19, can I get the vaccination?
Yes. Health officials recommend getting the COVID-19 vaccination, even if you’ve previously had COVID-19, but people should wait until they are no longer infectious to get the vaccination.

10. What about children?
Currently the vaccine is approved for persons aged 16 years or older for the prevention of COVID-19 infection. Studies are underway for children under the age of 16.

Still looking for more information? Check out this list of myths about the vaccine and the debunking answers from the Mayo Clinic: Here are a couple of examples...

Myth: The current vaccines embed a tracking mechanism or microchip into the body. 
Fact: This is absolutely false. In order to track vaccine doses, there is technology on the packaging that ensures a couple of things – that it is the real vaccine and not counterfeit and it helps the health care system know how many doses have been given. COVID-19 vaccine syringes could contain RFID microchips on labels, but they wouldn’t be injected into the individual that receives the vaccine. The chip is not an injectable device but more like a barcode on a food item. The chip transmits information, it does not gather any. The chip is located on the outside of the container holding the vaccine.

Myth: I already had COVID-19 and recovered, so I don't need to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it's available.
Fact: There is not enough information currently available to say if or for how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again. This is called natural immunity. Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this. Mayo Clinic recommends getting the COVID-19 vaccine, even if you’ve had COVID-19 previously. However, those that had COVID-19 should delay vaccination until about 90 days from diagnosis. People should not get vaccinated if in quarantine after exposure or if they have COVID-19 symptoms.

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